Posted: 2nd September 2013
Linear Diagnostics Ltd, Molecular Vision Ltd and the Food and Environment Research Agency (“Fera”), are pleased to announce the award of a £392,000 grant from the UK’s innovation agency, the Technology Strategy Board to help fund a two year project to develop an onsite, quick and simple diagnostic test for the detection of multiple pathogens in harvested crops. The grant is part of a Technology Strategy Board initiative to find effective technologies to measure efficient agri-food systems.
Crop disease is a growing problem for the agricultural industry; with wastage costing the food and drink industry £5 billion every year.1 Food crops are highly susceptible to contagious spoilage pathogens. Often diseases are not detected until the crops have been harvested and stored, by which time it is too late to prevent the spread to healthy produce. Current lab based, testing methods are time consuming and expensive and only target single pathogens.
The risk of spreading disease also restricts the use of water recycling when crops are washed prior to packaging. A typical water consumption of a potato packing plant in the UK is 10.95 million m3 per annum. Water recycling can potentially reduce the demand for mains water by 90%. Monitoring will allow the water wash to be recycled resulting in lower water usage, a reduction in pathogen spreading and concomitant reduction in food wastage at the production and storage level.
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