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CellCount – a revolutionary testing platform to solve current problems with microbiological contamination in water and food industries

Periodic Reporting for period 2 - CellCount (CellCount – a revolutionary testing platform to solve current problems with microbiological contamination in water and food industries)

Reporting period: 2019-09-01 to 2021-03-31

Food- and water-borne illnesses are common and preventable public health issues. Hundreds of millions of samples are tested each year to detect harmful bacteria in drinking and environmental water, food and beverages. Pathogens such as Legionella, Pseudomonas, Giardia/Cryptosporidium, Salmonella, Campylobacter and E. coli (O157:H7), cause disease and lead to enormous economic damage.
Events such as, the 2013 Legionella outbreak in Warstein, Germany, with over 185 cases of disease, or the Danish Listeria outbreak of summer 2014, with 12 reported deaths and the shutting down of the meat producing company, painfully demonstrated the limitations of current testing methodologies. Long testing times, and insufficient analytical quality in results lead to unsuccessful countermeasures, spread of the disease, and waste of energy and biocides, and financial loss for the organisations involved.
CellCount is a novel testing technology that delivers fully quantitative test results at an unmatched speed. CellCount revolutionizes the pathogen detection market by combining various new technologies, already well-established in the academic environment, and applying them to industrial applications. Due to its novel sample preparation and pathogen detection technology, CellCount provides a quantitative pathogen detection result within one hour, compared to days and weeks for other methods.
During theproject, rqmicro has been focused on optimising the CellCount system and legionella test kit, which it then followed with the accreditation and demonstration activities proving its readiness for market deployment. In additon to advancing the product's market readiness rqmicro has engaged in a number of business development activties that has included participating in events worldwide to engage stakeholders and maintain its IP management strategy.
Improving food and water safety will have a significant societal impact and also presents a large economic opportunity for rqmicro. CellCount performance is far superior when compared to the classical microbiological approaches of plating and cultivation. CellCount's analysis of the sample at the single cell level and the discrimination of viable cells from dead cells, place the test system in the position to become the new gold standard in pathogen detection and quality control. So far only rqmicro is able to achieve superior background-to-noise discrimination when working with environmental or food matrices. Pathogen detection technologies have been competing along the classical trade-off of speed versus analytical quality. rqmicro’s approach breaks the trade-off and delivers not only unmatched time to result but also analytical quality (single cell count, cell viability detection). In addition, rqmicro is able to offer test kits at a price which is very competitive when compared to current convenient and rapid methods.
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