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JEFFERSON CITY - Researchers from Lincoln University and the University of Missouri have been working collaboratively on a new type of food safety sensor.

Researchers said this sensor will significantly reduce the testing time for food contamination.

"Traditionally, the food products are tested by lab, and it can take probably a week," said Shuping Zhang, director of Veterinary Medical Diagnostic Laboratory at the University of Missouri. "With the bio sensor, including sample processing and testing, we are talking about a couple of hours."

The high sensitivity impedance sensor is approved as a patent by the United States Patent and Trademark Office.

Mahmoud Almasri, associate professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at the University of Missouri, said this program was first fund to detect a single bacteria. 

Almasri said the research team has been working on making the impedance sensor to detect multi-bacteria simultaneously as they received more funds. 

"We are looking into three bacteria at the same time," he said. "We can detect E.coli, Salmonella, and Listeria."

Researchers said comparing using laboratory to test food contamination, this device is relatively small and easy to carry. 

"They don't have to collect the sample and send it to the lab," Zhang said. "They can actually test samples on side, and that will save a lot of time."