Irish bioscience company claims ‘game-changing’ development of dairy screener

1 Dec 2014

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Myriam Cronin, gateway UCC Incubation Centre manager, Richard Fernandez, CEO Luxcel Biosciences. Image via Gerard McCarthy

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Luxcel Biosciences, with partners MOCON and Oculer, have developed a platform of rapid microbiology testing products that aim to improve global quality and hygiene programmes in milk and dairy production.

The series of tests, which can deliver same-day results, assess the quality of the milk right through the supply chain, from the dairy parlour to the finished product, and aims to target the world’s increasing demand for milk, which is expected to rise to 350bn litres in 2020.

Founded by Dr Richard Fernandes and Prof Dmitri Papkovsky, Luxcel Biosciences has operated from Cork as a spin-off company from University College Cork (UCC) to develop technology to monitor the growth and viability of cells for food, beverages and pharmaceutical safety.

Luxcel optical sensing technology monitors the ability of the bacteria to grow in the liquid milk itself, or in the milk powder, and claims to be a faster and more sensitive testing solution than standard technologies and makes up for the current standard’s downfalls.

Papkovsky explained how the new tests work. “Based on a patented and highly sensitive optical oxygen sensor technology developed by Luxcel Biosciences, the new easy-to-use GreenLight and Oculer tests provide highly sensitive and rapid measurement of micro-organisms that grow in the neat milk, causing spoilage of the finished product.

“Simply put, if something is breathing and growing in milk or dairy samples, the new GreenLight and Oculer tests will detect it.”

The global dairy industry is in the middle of an internationally driven boom, with ever-increasing demand from the world’s fastest-growing nations, China and India, as well as the abolition of EU milk quotas in 2015.

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Colm Gorey is a journalist with Siliconrepublic.com

editorial@siliconrepublic.com