Are we one step closer to a smartphone app that can count the bugs in our bowl of yogurt?
Mexican scientists have built a nifty new microbiosensor that detects probiotics in food, reports foodprocessing.com.au. With traditional methods, scientists must let a sample incubate for 24 hours before they can monitor any probiotic cell growth.
This device can do it in half an hour.
“We have built the microbiosensor as a pilot to evaluate its potential in biosensing bacteria; the device is based on the resonance advantage of a lever or beam (holder chip) of micron size, to evaluate small changes in mass of the order of nanograms (which is the approximate weight of a bacterium),” Jorge Perez Chanona, researcher at the National School of Biological Sciences at the National Polytechnic Institute, told foodprocessing.com.
The researchers used the sensor to measure the growth of L. plantarum 299vm, a probiotic used in the development of fermented dairy products.
The global market for products teeming with helpful bugs is growing like a ripe petri dish of microbes. Sales of ingredients, supps and food featuring probiotics are expected to grow to $36.7 billion by 2018, with a five-year compound annual growth rate of 6.2 percent according to BCC Research. No doubt, a tool to measure them quickly will come in handy.