New Genome Sequence Scanning Technology to Speed Food Testing

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PathoGenetix's automated benchtop system will provide strain-level identification of foodborne pathogens from complex samples in just four hours, offering significant advantages to food companies and government agencies working to ensure safe food.

genome sequence scanning, food testing, food pathogens, food safety, microbial identification
PathoGenetix’s Genome Sequence Scanning is a breakthrough technology for food companies and government agencies working to ensure safe food.

PathoGenetix, Inc., developer of Genome Sequence Scanning™ (GSS™) technology for rapid microorganism strain typing, announced today that it will deliver the first commercial application of its proprietary technology in food safety testing, for availability in 2013. The automated benchtop GSS system will identify food pathogens to strain level, directly from complex mixtures such as food samples, in just four hours.

Genome Sequence Scanning is a breakthrough in microbial identification technology with significant advantages for food pathogen testing and outbreak tracking. GSS works directly from complex samples and provides results in just four hours—days faster than current identification methods. The strain-level information provided is comparable to pulsed field gel electrophoresis (PFGE), the current gold standard for food pathogen outbreak investigation. Yet GSS’s automated platform and simplified protocol required minimal training and ensure consistent, accurate results.

“PathoGenetix’s Genome Sequence Scanning is a breakthrough technology for food companies and government agencies working to ensure safe food,” says PathoGenetix CEO, John Canepa. “Rapid, accurate and cost-effective strain typing of food pathogens allows more informed decisions, better source tracking and faster outbreak investigations, and that means safer food and saved lives.”

Food Safety Testing and Outbreak Tracking

New regulations and increasing food recalls and public concern are heightening the need for faster identification of dangerous pathogens in food. Food companies, government agencies and public health labs conduct regular food safety testing on raw materials, production facilities and finished products to ensure food quality and detect potentially dangerous organisms like Salmonella, Listeria or E. coli in food imports and food products.

If a pathogen is detected in food or in a production facility, additional testing is required to identify the pathogen strain and track it back to its source. Current identification systems, however, require time-consuming sample preparation and complex test methods that add numerous days to a process where every minute can make a difference.

PathoGenetix’s novel Genome Sequence Scanning technology extracts microbial DNA directly from complex samples, without the need for cultured isolates or primer design. A restriction enzyme cuts the DNA into large fragments and fluorescent tags are added based on the organism’s genome sequence. GSS uses the DNA fragment length and spacing of tags to create a fingerprint, similar to a genomic barcode, which is recorded and compared to a database for strain identification.

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About PathoGenetix

PathoGenetix’s proprietary Genome Sequence Scanning (GSS) technology provides rapid and accurate confirmation, identification and characterization of microorganisms to strain level in just four hours. The core GSS technology was developed under a five-year, $50 million Department of Homeland Security contract for detection of bio-threat pathogens in environmental samples. PathoGenetix is currently developing a compact, benchtop version of GSS technology for use in food safety pathogen testing and outbreak tracking. Learn more at

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Mary Hawkins
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