Life Technologies Develops Fast, Accurate Test To Detect Europe's Deadly E. coli

Screening kits, designed to confirm presence or absence of the bacterium and pinpoint contamination source, have now arrived to Europe for distribution.

Carlsbad, CA: Life Technologies Corp. has developed a custom test to accurately detect the E. coli bacterium that has killed at least 22 people and affected more than 2,100 worldwide, including four new cases reported in the United States.

Shipments of the TaqMan E. coli 0104 Detection Kit to test foods thought to be associated with the outbreak are now in Europe.

"A qPCR-based assay test is the most accurate method to detect harmful foodborne pathogens because a positive result indicates the presence of that particular strain's DNA in the food sample that is being tested," says Nir Nimrodi, head of food safety at Life Technologies. "It is also the fastest. While traditional laboratory testing methods can take up to 10 days for results, this test can determine the presence or absence of the European pathogen in 10 to 24 hours, depending on the sample type and size."

Life Technologies began designing the specially tailored test last week after company researchers, using samples supplied by scientists at University Hospital Munster, completed the DNA sequencing and analysis work on the deadly E. coli strain using the Ion Personal Genome Machine (PGM).

Results from their work, and independently supported by a second team of researchers in China also using the PGM showed that the E. coli bacterium is a hybrid strain that is resistant to antibiotics. It took both teams just three days to complete the work on the benchtop DNA sequencer.

For research use only. Not for use in diagnostic procedures.