Seattle Sensor Systems and nanoRETE were selected from more than 40 companies due to their development of differing technology to quickly identify food pathogens.
The Global Food Protection Institute (GFPI) allocated the money via its Emerging Technology Accelerator (ETA).
The aim is to help fast-track the technologies to market, with both companies agreeing improvements could be made to current pathogen detection methods.
NanoRETE’s technology has the ability to test for numerous pathogens and toxins using a handheld device which generates screening results in around one hour.
Seattle Sensor Systems use a portable surface plasmon resonance (SPR) technology for detection of biohazards in food sources by monitoring production and analysing factory environments.
Results within an hour
Tom Skillman, president and CEO at Seattle Sensor Systems told FoodProductionDaily.com that “faster testing is a ubiquitous need in the food industry.”
“Our technology is based on an observation from material physics that characteristics of TM polarised light reflected from a thin gold film change in very predictable ways when microscopic changes are made to the film's surface.
“Because the biosensor in our instrument can detect either an organism’s outer cell wall, internal proteins, DNA sequences, or RNA sequences, we are able to select key markers that are sufficiently abundant to allow quick detection with little or no ‘enrichment’ (pathogen growth time) as compared to competing technologies.
“For example, by coating the gold film with molecular structures (antibodies) that bind tightly to food pathogens or allergens (antibodies) and then flowing a liquid sample across the surface of the biosensor, any pathogens present in the fluid will bind to the antibodies on the gold film surface and cause an instant detectable change that can be measured, recorded, and displayed,” he said.
Making the device portable would remove the time, difficulties, and costs when samples must be collected, labelled, controlled, transported and processed at a remote lab, said Skillman.
Skillman said: “The amount of time required to collect and test samples, impacts the producer by extending food quarantine, increasing spoilage, and reducing shelf life."
NanoRETE CEO Fred Beyerlein told FoodProductionDaily.com current practices take “precious time, sophisticated equipment and a dedicated laboratory environment.”
“Get closer to the point of contaminant, get an answer fast, keep the contaminated food stuffs from getting into the supply chain and you will have a winning situation for all involved, especially the consumer.”
NanoRETE believes their technology, X-MARK, offers a detection mode that brings the testing to the point of potential contamination, said Beyerlein.
He said: “The technology is based on the use of proprietary magnetic nanoparticles which can be conjugated with select monoclonal antibodies or DNA sequences or probes to detect a broad range of pathogens or toxins.
“The challenge for any early stage company is its ability to rapidly bring together the human capital and financial resources necessary to quickly commercial its technology base but we feel we are well on the road to securing these key ingredients,” he added.