Bacteria contamination is one of the biggest issues in the food industry. According to The US National Library of Medicine, in the United States alone about 48 million people get sick from contaminated food each year. The common method of testing food and beverages for harmful bacteria with the use of petri plates is cumbersome and can take up to several days, which increases the chances of infected products making their way onto the market.
An Israeli company named TA Count claims to be able to reduce this waiting time from days to a mere five minutes. Based on a discovery by microbiologist Dr. Vladimir Glukhman, TA Count has found a way to determine in a matter of minutes whether or not a particular microorganism is present.
“This is the same principle as the pregnancy test,” CEO Isak Duenyas told NoCamels. “The process of identifying all the bacteria present takes a little more time, but within five minutes we can give the important answer – ‘can this be consumed or not?'”
TA Count’s founders; Glukhman, Duenyas and Dr. Elon Kaplan, all worked together at a company creating water purification systems. They got frustrated with the length of time it took for the test results for water purity to get back. So Glukhman set out to research a solution.
The trio established TA Count in 2009 through Kinrot Ventures, an Israeli incubator promoting water technologies and received funding from Hutchison Water Corporation.
“Today the system still requires a microbiologist, but our future goal is to enable the system to work automatically with no human intervention,” Duenyas says. “For example today in Tel Aviv there is a municipal tester who has to visit 54 different places. If he had this system in the back of his car while driving from one place to another he would already get the test results and pass them to the authorities quickly. Instead of taking the sample to the lab we hope to bring the lab to the sample.”
TA Count currently only tests water and plans eventually to expand to food and even pharmaceuticals.
Photo by lofaesofa