Tiny new device will make milk safer

November 9, 2011

Milk is about to get a whole lot safer for consumers, thanks to Concordia University researchers who've developed a new instrument to detect harmful foreign substances in dairy and other products.

"Even though Canada does not allow the use of growth hormones and excessive in , until now there were no methods or equipment to effectively measure residual traces in milk," says Muthukumaran Packirisamy, who led in the development of this new prototype as a professor in Concordia's Department of Mechanical and .

Packirisamy and his team spent two years perfecting the technology -- officially called a microfluidic device -- that may soon be commercially used to detect the presence of bovine growth hormones in milk. The product was developed with the support of Quebec's Ministère du Développement Économique, de l'Innovation et de l'Exportation and Valeo Management, whose mandate is to transform university research findings from concept to prototype.

The microfluidic biosensing device was well received during a recent presentation to potential industry partners in Boston. One representative from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration in the United States (NASA) remarked on its potential to detect contaminants such as bacteria and pathogens in future space missions.

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