In the view of the U.S. military, it is a national security priority to detect foodborne pathogens. With the present technologies, testing for microbial food contamination takes 2 to 7 days for the results. The sensors that have been developed to date are too big to be transported easily. In the immediate future, small, portable sensors that can detect and measure pathogens in food products are needed.
Several groups of researchers in the United States are developing biosensors that can detect pathogens quickly and easily. These sensors can play a critical role in the event of a terrorist attack on the food supply. With United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and National Science Foundation (NSF) funding, researchers at Purdue University are developing a handheld sensor capable of detecting a specific bacteria instantaneously from any sample.
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