New Lasers to Fight Food Poisoning

South Korean scientists have developed lasers, which are mounted on the fridge, to scan and detect microorganisms in foods so as to alert the individual.
April 17, 2016

Lasers might once have been just an idea entertained in science fiction movies, but thanks to amazing new technological advancements, they could be a game changer when it comes to food safety.

South Korean researchers have developed lasers that could protect you from an unpleasant foodborne illness. Scientists from the Korea Advanced Institutes of Science and Technology designed these lasers to be mounted on a fridge and detect microorganisms in foods so as to alert the individual.

Unlike current technology used to detect microorganisms, these lasers could be developed into cost-effective, simple to use scanners, making them more accessible to the everyday food business.

How They Work

Researches contaminated raw chicken with E. coli and bacillus cereus and then shined the lasers over the affected areas. Rather than the light scattering when it touched these areas, the moving microorganisms created a new pattern, alerting the researches to their presence.

The study describes the new product as “a simple, non-destructive, non-contact, and rapid optical method for measuring living microorganisms in meat products using laser speckle decorrelation”

“By simply measuring dynamic speckle intensity patterns reflected from samples and analyzing the temporal correlation time, the presence of living microorganisms can be noninvasively detected with high sensitivity,” the study continued.

There Are Limits to This Technology

While these lasers hope to aid in the fight against potential foodborne illnesses, they still have their limitations. They might be able to detect harmful organisms through plastic wrap, but so far they can only detect moving microorganisms. This means that toxins and viruses, which are often the cause of food poisoning, remain undetectable.