Bacteria Detection Test - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

4/22/07

Bacteria Detection Test

You know how many cases of food poisoning there were in the U.S. last year? 75-million.

That's according to the National Institutes of Health and some students are takin' their achin' stomachs to heart. At the University of South Carolina, they have a plan to cut that number in half and they're using a dipstick to do it. 

"Two people every second come down with food poisoning. Two people per day die. When we started this we would take a can of tuna fish or a fillet and grind it up," said Dr. John Lavigne.

That concoction led to a new discovery that could prevent food poisoning. Doctor Lavigne and his team of students have created what they call a disposable "dipstick." It searches for and highlights certain chemicals formed by disease-causing bacteria.

You just dip the strip into liquid, like milk, and if it's bad it turns red. Same thing if it spots spoiled salmon or bad meat. Critics argue all you need is a nose to smell if something has gone bad, but the disposable dipstick is already on the fast track.  Dr. Lavigne says he hopes the product will be available for general use within two years.

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