Future applications

As a platform, the technology is potentially expandable into many other sectors including:

Mycotoxins in other foodstuffs

The problem
In addition to edible nuts, many other foodstuffs can be affected by mycotoxins.

The solution
The Development Team at ToxiMet has already started work to extend the range of applications for the ToxiMet technology in the detection of mycotoxins in different foodstuffs. The scope will include cereals, rice, dried vine fruit, spices and coffee.  

Mycotoxins in animal feed

The problem
A wide variety of commodities are employed as animal feed, especially cereals and oilseed products (e.g. groundnut, cottonseed and palm kernel cakes, together with copra). 

The wide range of mycotoxins occurring in animal feed can have a serious impact on both the health and productivity of livestock resulting in death, vaccination failure, immunosuppression and poor weight gain, together with low quality meat and eggs. Furthermore, aflatoxin present in dairy feed can be metabolised and transferred to milk.

The solution
Farmers need to keep the contamination of their feed to an absolute minimum if highly damaging economic consequences are to be avoided.

For more information click here >>

Food safety testing of veterinary residues in food

The problem
The presence of excessive levels of veterinary residues in animal products used as human food can be detrimental to human health.

Veterinary residues reported in The Annual Report on Surveillance for Veterinary Residues in Food in the UK 2010 included: Nicarbazin in eggs; Leucomalachite green in farmed fish; Oxytetracycline in honey; Nitroxynil and Triclabendazol sulphone in milk; Diclazuril, maduramycin and Nicarbazin in poultry; and Oxytetracycline and Sulphadiazine in red meat.

The solution
The importance of methods which can simultaneously measure multiple toxins is recorded by the Annual Report. Click here to see more >>

Food safety testing of pesticide residues in food

The problem
Pesticides fall into the following classes: organochlorines, organophosphates, pyrethroids, carbamates and PCBs. A large number of pesticide residues can occur in a wide range of commodities, frequently as mixtures. 

The Annual Report of The Pesticide Residues Committee 2010 tested for residues in 40 different commodities, including 330 pesticides in fruit and vegetables, 37 in animal products, 69 in starchy foods and grains, 153 in infant food, and 322 in other groceries; 41.68% of the samples tested contained residues, whereas 2.77% of samples contained residues above the Maximum Residual Level (MRL).

For reference click here >> 

Food safety testing of shell-fish toxins

The problem
Shellfish poisoning is caused by a group of toxins produced by planktonic algae upon which shellfish feed. The toxins are accumulated and sometimes metabolized by the shellfish. The symptoms of shellfish poisoning are primarily neurological effects and gastrointestinal disorders.

The solution
Although the mouse bioassay has been the most widely applied technique for detecting shellfish poisons, considerable effort has recently been applied to the development of chemical assays to replace these bioassays.

For more information click here >> 

Testing of food pathogens

The problem
Human food can be contaminated with a wide variety of pathogens, including Salmonella spp, Campylobacter jejuni, Clostridium botulinum, Escherichia coli, Staphylococcus aureus and Listeria monocytogenes

Campylobacter is the most common cause of food poisoning in the UK, whereas Listeriosis, the foodborne illness caused by Listeria, is relatively rare but causes more deaths from food poisoning in the UK than other foodborne pathogens

For more information click here >> 

Testing of environmental pollutants

The problem
A wide range of environmental pollutants (e.g. hydrocarbons, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs)) originate from many different sources and contaminate air, land and water throughout the world. 

The increasing utilisation of land and water for food production, housing and recreational purposes is placing enormous demands upon those responsible for the analysis and remediation of contaminated environments. 

For more information click here >> 

Testing of counterfeit drugs

The problem
It has been estimated by the USA Food and Drugs Administration (FDA) that fake drugs comprise 10% of the global medicine market, representing criminal sales valued at some US$35 billion.  In some parts of Africa and Asia fake drugs comprise 50%, or more, of the market.  Counterfeit materials include drugs for the treatment of major global diseases such as HIV-AIDS, malaria and cancer.

The solution
The need to control the market in counterfeit drugs has been clearly acknowledged by the International Narcotics Control Board (INCB) and other international agencies.

For more information click here >> 

Testing of hospital-borne infections including MRSA

The problem
MRSA (Meticillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus) is a type of bacterial infection that is resistant to a number of widely used antibiotics. Most persons entering hospital are screened for MRSA.

For reference click here >> 

The solution
The Technology Strategy Board (TSB) has awarded ToxiMet £125k to undertake a feasibility study to determine the efficacy of ToxiMet’s technology for the rapid screening of bacterial pathogens. With the full agreement of the TSB, this has been put on hold pending the completion of our development programme on food applications.

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