Korean scientists develop magnet that detects food poisoning

November 26, 2013
A new scientific development to detect food-poisoning bacteria using a magnet will allow schools to adopt the practice easily and fast.

A new scientific development to detect food-poisoning bacteria using a magnet will allow schools to adopt the practice easily and fast.

By Ko Dong-hwan

A new scientific breakthrough will allow the detection of bacteria that causes food poisoning using a magnet in as fast as less than 30 minutes, medical sources reported on Tuesday.

The core principle behind the development is “nano iron-oxide particles” which are drawn to magnets. The particles, with their thickness being one five hundredths that of a human hair, are artificially mixed with special antibodies that are only attracted to bacteria like Vibrio or Sarmonella.

Such application means that any bacteria that can cause food poisoning will attract hundreds of the specially forged particles and be drawn to a magnet.

The practice is rather simple. First, the iron-oxide particles are put into water in which foods were just washed. The water is then drawn into a pipette, followed by the second suction of polyethylene glycol, a high-density liquid used in making ointments.

While the two disparate liquids stay separated, a magnet is placed at the bottom of the pipette. If it attracts black particles at the bottom, it means the water was contaminated with the bacteria.

The development was accomplished by chemical engineering professor Jeon Sang-min and Dr. Joo Min-myeong from Pohang University of Science and Technology along with doctoral researcher Kwon Dong-hun from the same department.

“Because it works fast, costs little and is convenient to practice, commercialization of this technology will allow every school to inspect food poisoning with each meal,” said Prof. Jeon.

The details of the research were published in the latest issue of the research journal and magazine Analytical Chemistry.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>