Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Detecting Bacteria Crawling All Over Food

Food poisoning is a day to day worry for citizens in developing countries, but this new laser technology will help with this problem. Jonghee Yoon, from South Korea, found a new technology that is able to detect bacteria. “By detecting the decorrelation in the laser speckle intensity patterns from tissues, the living activities of microorganisms can be detected.” This is a fairly cheap technology and does not take up much time.
            This article explains the technology and how it detects bacteria. The bacteria “hair” is detected when the laser light hits the food, the light then creates speckles, which are the bacteria. As the bacteria move, the speckles change and these fluctuations in patterns show the bacteria’s activity. This is important, because we are now able to study the movement of bacteria on food, and how often they change positions. By using this technology, E. coli and B. cereus were detected in chicken breast tissues. E. coli alone is a very important bacterium to detect, and being able to identify it in a cheap and quick fashion, scientists will be reducing the number of food poisoning outbreaks. Another important aspect of this technology is time. The article said, “Yoon and co use one that takes images at a rate of 30 times a second and then process the images by subtracting one from another to reveal any difference.” This is important, because it produces images that are fairly close to the location of the bacteria. This is also important, because it is the only part of the process that needs a monitor. The most important part of this technology is that it “does not require contact with the meat and so can be done at a distance.” Since this can be done at a distance, packaged meat can also be checked. This would be especially helpful in a restaurant, where the meat is kept and the laser would be able to scan it efficiently for the cooks.
            This article fails to mention the success of this technology and how it has helped people in developing countries. This technology also has limitations in identifying harmful bacteria from harmless bacteria. This should be developed more in order to make the technology more efficient, before more consumers use this. Finally, this article lacks an explanation of where this technology may be used once it is fully developed. It does mention developing countries, but restaurants could use this technology, as well as home appliances if it is affordable for consumers. This technology can reduce the cases of food poisoning, and it can make people more aware of what they are eating.


  1. I believe that this can be a very helpful technology, however, this article left me with too many unanswered questions. For starters, how "cheap" is cheap? Is it cheap relative to a refrigerator, to the amount of food thrown away or just cheap compared to other technologies? Also, It never mentions how it will be available for consumers, where it will be sold. Though it can make less cases for food poisoning, the places where it would be needed most are developing or undeveloped countries, where there may not even be refrigerators. Another question is how much of a demand will there be for this product? Most of the food we consume is healthy, with few personal instances of poisoning. I do not see a demand in developed countries for this reason. Also, how easy is set-up when receiving the product? I believe this may be useful for food distributors, but at least for now I am seeing too many uncertainties compared to the benefits, especially in developed countries.

  2. This bacteria detecting technology sounds like an amazing concept thats applicable to many situations world wide. First off, this technology could help out people in under developed countries. By having the simple ability to wave a device and pick up any contaminants residing on a surface is amazing. Within the world, America specifically, we live a very hygienic lifestyle. Around every corner are disinfectant wipes, or Purrell dispensers. The implementation of this device has the ability of keeping everyone healthy, and away from illness. From what I’ve read, I think this would be most effective in restaurants and hospitals. As an example, Chipotle who has been criticized for their alleged e-coli outbreaks, would benefit immensely from the use of this devise. Hospitals need to be cleanly at all times from beds to operating tables. This is especially hard to do when a majority of people in a hospital are sick. Ultimitely the scanner could revolutionize sanitization, and patient care in a hospital setting. Through all the observations of the device, I wonder if there are any plans to study the scans? Maybe the scanner could be used for research purposes or bacteria movement and growth. What do you think?


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.