Periodic Reporting for period 2 - LoveFood2Market (A portable MicroNanoBioSystem and Instrument for ultra-fast analysis of pathogens in food: Innovation from LOVE-FOOD lab prototype to a pre-commercial instrument)
Reporting period: 2017-08-01 to 2019-04-30
To achieve a higher Technology Readiness Level (TRL>7) and proceed with the successful commercialisation of the LOVE-FOOD, within LF2M we proposed to further develop the LoC by integrating the bacteria lysis, DNA purification and amplification modules, as well as the biochip detection platform on a single cartridge. This system will be able to perform multi-pathogen analysis (i.e. Salmonella, Listeria, Escherichia coli and Bacillus cereus) in multiple samples and in a rapid manner. The system is meant to be developed for dairy products and meat analysis, with a strong commitment to produce a pre-industrial prototype by the end of the project. The development of such a platform would be a big step forward towards bacteria fast analysis, a process that currently requires from 13 hrs to 3 days using lab-based molecular diagnostic or standard culturing methods, respectively.
During the second reporting period work efforts were focused primarily on 1. the final optimisation of the parts that consisted the Lab-on-Chip, i.e. the plastic card and the docking stations, as well as the software and 2. extensive validation studies at three end-users labs. Samples tested included milk, cheese as well as formula milk. Results from the end-users were reported to the consortium, including feedback related to the process, data analysis and reliability of the method. The very rapid nature of the technology was highly commented together with the simple methodology and cost-effectiveness of the technique. Some points for further improvement were also reported, regarding the re-usibility of the plastic cards. In addition, during the last period a workshop was organised where end-users from the food-industry were invited to present industrial needs regarding foodborne pathogen detection. The first demonstration of the method was also performed at the same time. Overall, results from the project were widely disseminated to scientific and general audience through workshops, conferences, publications, one press release, exhibitions and release of one video.
The project proposes a paradigmatic change in food-analysis based on interdisciplinary and highly innovative research in order to confront the increasing urgency for faster, economical and more efficient food pathogen detection. The need for more efficient food safety management is driven by 3 main reasons: 1. a worldwide increase in outbreaks of foodborne illnesses; 2. the associated increase in healthcare costs and food-manufacturers losses; and, 3. the globalization of food supply in the developing countries introducing an emerging need for food safety testing at the location of import. Moreover, with over 270,000 companies, the food industry is one of the largest European manufacturing sectors, providing employment to over 4 million people and having an annual turnover of 956 billion euros. The proposed work is expected to have a substantial impact in strengthening the competitiveness of Europe in the food and analytical sector while alleviating the societal burden related to food poisoning.
The positive impact of the LoveFood2Market project to the European competitiveness is clearly illustrated in a recent recognition of the consortium’s work by the European Council during the meeting of the European Ministers of Science and Innovation in February of 2016. Our work was recognised and included in the list of projects that “make European citizens proud of”, by providing “ground breaking research and innovation”, “a significant and real impact on Europe’s economy and society” and contributing to “a Europe that aims to attract investors, innovative enterprises and the best researchers”. In addition, the LF2M project has been invited by the EU to participate in the Bioeconomy week on 14-17 November 2017,as part of the successful EC-projects.