Small Chip Will Be Able To Detect Antibiotic Residues

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A small microchip could soon help dairy producers find out if there are antibiotic residues in their milk in less than two minutes. The device is portable, and can be used in almost any condition by anyone in the supply chain.

It s also economical. It will be priced for less than five dollars, as compared to present tests which are hundreds of dollars, said Rajan Gupta, president of the Edmonton-based company, Sci- Med Technologies.

The chip, which is about one by three centimetres, is still in the prototype stage, but early models have been completed. As soon as a producer puts a drop of milk onto the chip, it will be able to detect antibiotic residues. The chip will have wireless connectivity and will be able to be connected to a computer, so results can easily be communicated to others.

Funding is now in place so Sci- Med technologies, a company that specializes in diagnostic kits for food safety and nutritional testing, will be able to take the product from development to completion.

The timing of this investment is really critical for us, especially when we are entering the Chinese and Indian markets, the two largest markets around, said Gupta. The company has already created similar devices which measure Vitamin A and Vitamin D levels in milk.

At an event last month, Mike Lake, Member of Parliament for Edmonton-Mill Woods-Beaumont, spoke on behalf of Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz, to announce the Government of Canada has provided more than $350,000 to assist SciMed Technologies.

The project is being funded under the Canadian Agricultural Adaptation Program (CAAP), administered by Alberta s Agriculture and Food Council.

About the author

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Alexis Kienlen

Alexis Kienlen lives in Edmonton and has been writing for Alberta Farmer since 2008. Originally from Saskatoon, Alexis is also the author of two collections of poetry, a biography, and a novel called "Mad Cow."

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