16 June 2024  

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Pathogenic bacteria are the origin of 90% of reported food-borne illnesses. Listeria monocytogenes is one of the most worrying pathogens in the food chain, having “zero tolerance” in ready-to-eat and dairy foods. This bacterium is the agent causing listeriosis, an infection which can kill vulnerable people such as the elderly, newborns, pregnant women and people suffering from immuno-compromising diseases.

Current techniques for sampling and detection of L. monocytogenes present some major limitations, such as: very low recovery rates of the microorganism due to the formation of biofilms; extensive treatment times (sample preparation step needed in most of the cases); and limited sensitivity of the measurement techniques.

The objective of BIOLISME is to develop a system to monitor the contamination levels in industrial food producing-plants in a more fast, safe and efficient manner than current tools. This objective will be reached through the study of different types of Listeria contamination; the design of new sampling techniques; the optimisation of the samples’ treatments; and the development of a biosensor-based detection system.

Consequently, BIOLISME will improve:

  1. Quality controls by introducing a faster, in situ Listeria detection system that will enable companies assure food safety and/or cleaning effectiveness in less time.
  2. Management of food outbreaks by reducing the number of infections and, in case of an alert, the reaction time.
  3. Consumers’ confidence in the agri-food industry.
Although BIOLISME will focus initially on the agri-food sector, the solution will be flexible enough to ensure an easy adaptation to the detection of other pathogens as well as the detection of Listeria in other sectors (e.g. clinical and environmental).
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