New material kills E. Coli bacteria in 30 Seconds

Researchers in Singapore say they have developed a new material that can kill 99.7% of E. coli bacteria within 30 seconds.

The team from the Institute of Bioengineering and Nanotechnology (IBN) of A*STAR synthesized a chemical compound made up of molecules linked together in a chain. This structure helps to penetrate the cell membrane and destroy the bacteria.

In contrast, antibiotics only kill the bacteria without destroying the cell membrane. Leaving the cell structure intact allows new antibiotic-resistant bacteria to grow.

“Our unique material can kill bacteria rapidly and inhibit the development of antibiotic-resistant bacteria. Computational chemistry studies supported our experimental findings that the chain-like compound works by attacking the cell membrane. This material is also safe for use because it carries a positive charge that targets the more negatively charged bacteria, without destroying red blood cells,” said Dr Yugen Zhang (pictured right) who lead the research team.

The imidazolium oligomers come in the form of a white powder that is soluble in water. The researchers also found that once this was dissolved in alcohol, it formed gels spontaneously. This material could be incorporated in alcoholic sprays that are used for sterilization in hospitals or homes.

E. coli is a type of bacteria found in the intestines of humans and animals, and some strains can cause severe diarrhoea, abdominal pain and fever. Such infection is contagious and can spread through contaminated food or water, or from contact with people or animals. Good hygiene practices and proper food handling can prevent E. coli infections.

“The global threat of drug-resistant bacteria has given rise to the urgent need for new materials that can kill and prevent the growth of harmful bacteria. Our new antimicrobial material could be used in consumer and personal care products to support good personal hygiene practices and prevent the spread of infectious diseases,” said IBN Executive Director, Professor Jackie Y. Ying.

First Australian grown frozen berries hit shelves

Australia now has 100 per cent locally grown frozen berries available on local shelves.

‘Matilda’s’ was launched by third generation strawberry farmers Matt and Ruth Gallace after dozens of people contracted Hepatitis A from eating contaminated frozen mixed berries, which were imported.

Until now commercial quantities of Australian frozen berries haven't been available.

Launched in-store on the 1st December, the berries are sourced from Sunny Ridge Strawberry Farm, which has been in the Gallace family for fifty years, and has 800 acres of land in Victoria and Queensland.

Raspberries and blueberries will be sourced from New South Wales and Tasmania.

The berries are all handpicked, washed and snap frozen in an entirely new purpose-built facility in the Yarra Valley.

Matilda’s co-founder Ruth Gallace says the fact that they’ve built the factory from the ground up, and the packing site is exclusively for fruit, means there’s no risk of cross contamination.

“In many cases nuts are processed on the same site used to process other foods, which causes great concern for parents who have children with allergies.  My daughter has anaphylaxis and I’m only too well aware of the need to ensure there is no chance of contamination.  The beauty of having our own site means it’s only used exclusively for fruit, so there is nothing else processed on site.”

Ruth said the origin of each product is completely transparent too and is labelled on each and every bag, so consumers know which region the berries came from.

“We’re really proud to be able to provide a product which really challenges the current food labelling system.  There needs to be far more transparency as to food origin, how it’s processed and packaged.”

Ruth says it’s now up to the consumer to show they want a wholly Australian product and to ask for it at their local retailer.

“Demand will now be driven by the consumer, and the people really do hold the power, if you ask for the product, your retailer will order it in.”

Matilda’s frozen strawberries hit quality independent supermarket shelves in Victoria on 1st December including Leo’s, IGA’s, FoodWorks’ and LaManna’s across the State.  They will be in New South Wales, Queensland and South Australia in coming weeks.

RECALL NOTICE: Cottage Cheese Farm Goats Fetta

Cottage Cheese Farm Pty Ltd has recalled Cottage Cheese Farm Goats Fetta Cheese from Cottage Cheese Farm and Middle East Bakeries in Victoria due to microbial (E.coli) contamination. Food products contaminated with E.coli may cause illness if consumed. Any consumers concerned about their health should seek medical advice and should return the products to the place of purchase for a full refund.

Date notified to FSANZ

21/08/2015 

Food type

Cheese

Product name

Cottage Cheese Farm Goats Fetta Cheese

Package description and size

Plastic 2.3L tub (height – 145mm x diameter – 176mm), 1kg

Date marking

Use By 03 Jan 16, 05 Jan 16 and 06 Jan 16

Country of origin

Australia

Reason for recall

Microbial (E.coli) contamination

Distribution

Cottage Cheese Farm and Middle East Bakeries in Victoria

Consumer advice

Food products contaminated with E.coli may cause illness if consumed. Any consumers concerned about their health should seek medical advice and should return the products to the place of purchase for a full refund.

Contact

Cottage Cheese Farm Pty Ltd

03 9306 2516

www.cottagecheesefarm.com.au

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