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USDA, DuPont to Develop E. Coli Test

By a GenomeWeb staff reporter

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – The US Department of Agriculture and DuPont will co-develop a test for detecting hard-to-identify strains of E. coli that are currently not regulated, Dupont announced today.

The company and USDA will be developing a test for the detection of "Big 6" non-O157 shiga toxin-producing E. coli pathogens in food, which in recent years have been identified as agents of food-borne illnesses. The O157:H7 STEC strain of E. coli is already associated with global food contamination outbreaks. In a statement, DuPont said that it was among the first to develop a test for E. coli O157:H7 STEC, and the USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service uses the DuPont Bax system to monitor for the pathogen.

Along with developing the test with the USDA for other strains of the bacterium, the collaboration between the Agriculture Research Service of USDA and Dupont's Qualicon business will expand the diagnostic tools for use on DuPont's Bax system.

The automated system uses PCR assays, tableted reagents, and media to detect a host of pathogens including Salmonella, Listeria species, Listeria monocytogenes, and Staphylococcus aureus, among others.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

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