E. coli detection research receives funding

Funds totalling $1 million will be evenly split between two research projects designed to explore methods of quick detection of harmful E. coli bacteria in meat.

University of Alberta lead researchers Linda Pilarski and Lynn McMullen will receive $500,000 to explore rapid sampling and detection of E. coli in meat using existing molecular testing technology.

Researchers Michel Bergeron of Laval University and Burton Blais of the Canadian Food Inspection Agency will receive $500,000 to develop a novel testing method to quickly detect various types of E. coli in ground or trim beef.

Funding is provided by Genome Canada, Genome Alberta, the Alberta Livestock and Meat Agency, Alberta Innovates Bio Solutions, Genome Quebec and the Ontario agriculture ministry.

These entities organized a funding competition in November, with results announced today.

“The successful projects will leverage this investment with additional funding to bring the total investment to $1.6 million over the 18-month life of the projects,” said a news release announcing the funding.

The goal is to find genomics-based detection methods for E. coli that can be used in meat processing that are more sensitive, faster and cheaper than methods now in use.

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