Hong, Oyarzabal receive funding for food safety research

Published: Dec 9, 2008 4:00:41 PM
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Jong Woo Hong

Jong Wook Hong

Auburn University researchers Jong Wook Hong, assistant professor in materials engineering, and Omar A. Oyarzabal, associate professor in poultry science, have been awarded a competitive research grant in nanoscale science and engineering from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Starting in December 2008, the grant will provide $240,000 over the next three years.

"The goal of our project is to develop a nanotechnology-based system that can quickly detect food-borne pathogens." said Hong. Titled "Nanoliter/Picoliter Scale Fluidic Arrays for Rapid Identification of Pathogenic Bacteria," the project and the ability of the fluidic system to quickly detect single bacterial cells have the potential to greatly improve food safety.

The proposed research could provide unprecedented sensitivity for the identification of pathogens in foods in a fraction of the time currently required for such tests. Current methods for detecting these bacteria are labor-intensive, time-consuming and, in many cases, require several days for completion.