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New portable test for detecting banned antimicrobials in animal feed

A new weapon is being announced to aid the rapid detection of illegal antibiotics. Universal Sensors will demonstrate for the first time at the scientific conference Rapid Methods Europe 2011 (held in the Netherlands) its new portable Vantix Research II system capable of performing a 30 minute test for 10 banned antimicrobials in animal feed.

Antibiotics have been used extensively in animal production for decades as a growth enhancer. Even adding small doses (called sub-therapeutic doses) to the feed of farm animals can increase production. Although the use of antibiotics in this way has been banned in the EU since 2006, in other parts of the world the practice is still heavily used.
 
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in the USA recently produced its first report of antimicrobial drug use by the American livestock industry. It estimated that animals in the USA consumed about 13 million kgs of antibiotics in 2009 – eight times as much as consumed by humans in the USA. The concern is that overuse of antibiotics will lead to the development of new genres of super bugs.
 
Antibiotics ban in EU
The ban in the EU is the final step in the phasing out of antibiotics used to prevent animals becoming ill (rather than treating them when they are ill) and is part of the overall European strategy to address the increasing emergence of bacteria and other microbes resistant to antibiotics.
 
In order for the EU ban to be applied effectively, analytical systems are required to detect potential abuse and this is where the new test from Universal Sensors could help.
 
Testing animal feed rapidly
Traditionally, the analysis of animal feed has been confined to a laboratory with sophisticated instruments and equipment. These techniques make it difficult to test samples of animal feed on-site where the feedstock is being made or fed to animals. The ability to carry out a rapid test on site would allow a thorough investigation if a positive result was found. A positive screening result on a farm may also initiate a more in-depth response, for example, more samples could be taken of additional feeding stuffs to identify how banned substance was entering the food chain.
 
Preview of the new portable Vantix Research II system
At the scientific conference Rapid Methods Europe 2011 (24 -26 January 2011) which will be held in the Netherlands, Universal Sensors will preview for the first time its new portable Vantix Research II system and the initial 30 minute test which ultimately will allow for the detection of 10 of the most common banned antimicrobials in animal feed with minimal sample preparation.
 

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