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UAB researchers develop new test for shellfish bacteria

  • August 31, 2010
Asim K. Bej, Ph.D., a professor in the UAB Department of Biology, and his research team have developed a new method to test for Vibrio vulnificus, a bacterium common in oysters and other shellfish that is responsible for more than 95 percent of all seafood-related deaths. Currently, the recommended methods for testing post-harvested shellfish for the bacterial pathogens rely upon DNA detection and are complex and time consuming.

Bej's method, which does rely on the basic principles of current testing practices, is dramatically streamlined and amplifies a targeted gene in an isothermal condition followed by confirmation of the presence of the Vibrio vulnificus by using a disposable colorimetric device. Reports in the most recent edition of the Mississippi-Alabama Sea Grant Consortium Sea Briefs newsletter quote U.S. Food and Drug Administration officials who say Bej's new bacterium testing method is extremely cost effective and could eventually be adopted as an industry standard.