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18 July, 2006 - 13:59 By Staff Reporter

Cambridge technology to make light work of food poisoning

 A Cambridge University spin-out has signed a deal that it says will enable it to develop a powerful new weapon in the battle against food poisoning.

Molecular diagnostics company, Lumora plans to develop highly accurate and specific molecular tests, able to detect bacteria such as Salmonella and E.Coli in food.

Currently, tests for pathogens such as these can only be performed in laboratories. Lumora has announced the signing of a new licensing deal with French based global diagnostics company, bioMérieux, that will combine Lumora's luminescent technology with BioMérieux's DNA amplification detection technology.

The new technology will mean that tests on suspect items will be completed within minutes, and is simple enough to be incorporated into on-site portable devices. Lumora hopes the systems will be easy enough to use for the results to be interpreted by non-specialists, with significant implications for improved food safety.

Excitingly, according to Lumora, the technology will also be able to detect whether food has genetically modified material in it.

“The combination of Lumora’s technology with the bioMérieux amplification technology can bring the benefits of molecular diagnostics to many more users”, said Lumora’s CEO and founder, Dr Laurence Tisi. “Presently food safety and quality tests require laboratories with skilled personnel or technicians. Our technology can be taken out of the laboratory to where the diagnostic results really need to be, whether it’s a food processing plant, a farmer’s field or your local supermarket!”

Geraldine Rodgers of Cambridge Enterprise Seed Funds said: “We are very excited that Lumora have obtained this important licence. It represents a significant step in progressing Lumora's food testing programmes."

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