Licking lactose detection


Wednesday, 05 December, 2018


Licking lactose detection

Biological sensors that can detect substances like lactose and spoilage enzymes in milk on the spot are the basis of the next generation of diagnostic tools that will impact food safety, environmental monitoring and human health.

A CSIRO-developed Cybertongue that can rapidly detect lactose and spoilt milk has just been licensed to start-up PPB Technology.

“It is estimated that 4% of Australians are lactose intolerant and this problem may affect up to 65% of the world’s human population,” said former CSIRO researcher and PPB Technology founder Dr Stephen Trowell.

“We are seeing a growing number of people in Australia and around the world preferring lactose-free dairy alternatives.

“The global market for these products is set to grow to $15 billion over the next six years.

“For milk processors, current diagnostic methods for lactose are expensive and it can take up to a week to receive results, causing costs and delays for processors and increasing prices for consumers.

“By using a special biosensor for lactose, the Cybertongue technology provides accurate and close to real-time measurements anywhere in the production line, meaning products can be distributed sooner without risking product quality.”

CSIRO is developing future sensors for wider applications of Cybertongue as part a formal strategic partnership between CSIRO and PPB Technology.

“The unique way we have built the technology means we can develop sensors that detect a wide range of substances including toxins, allergens and enzymes,” said senior CSIRO researcher Dr Alisha Anderson.

This means the technology can be applied to a range of applications and industries such as food, environmental monitoring, biosecurity and human health.

“In human health this technology could mean potentially fatal health conditions like sepsis could be diagnosed in just a few minutes rather than current methods which take a few hours, potentially leading to faster and more effective treatment,” Dr Anderson said.

Image credit: ©stock.adobe.com/au/volff

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