Applied Science – Agriculture/Food Industry

Tim Howell NovoCyte

Agriculture/Food Industry

Within the agriculture and food industries the ability to quantitatively measure both the cellular and sub-cellular components of plant and animal tissues or fluids is critical for evaluating health, toxicity, purity, etc. Along these lines, flow cytometry can be used for assessing sperm quality, detecting mastitis, analyzing milk, identifying antibiotics in tissues, identifying and counting blood cell types, and analyzing soluble analytes such as hormones and cytokines.

Antibiotic Screening in Food products Using NovoCyte® Flow Cytometer

The widespread misuse of antibiotics in animal farming has major implications for food processing and human health. First, the residual presence of these drugs in edible products can compromise consumer health via toxicological and allergic reactions. Second, overuse of antibiotics in animal farming is fueling the emergence of bacteria that are resistant to these antibiotics. Third, the carryover of antibiotics in plant and animal products can be detrimental to downstream industrial fermentation processes. Rapid and efficient analytical screening methods for the early detection of antibiotic residues are therefore essential.

ACEA Biosciences and Unisensor collaboratively developed BEADYPLEX™, a competitive suspension bead-based flow cytometric assay for the simultaneous screening of more than 80 different antibiotics from the 10 most relevant antibiotic families, namely tetracyclines, sulfonamides, β-lactams, aminoglycosides, macrolides, fluoroquinolones, lincosamides, phenicols, polymyxines and pleuromutilins. This method has been validated in diverse meat products (pork, beef, poultry, and fish, while preliminary results indicate that BEADYPLEX™ can also be used for evaluating other food products such as milk and eggs.

The BeadyExpress™ software, developed for use of the BEADYPLEX™ multiplexing assay on the NovoCyte® flow cytometer, enables straightforward and automatic data acquisition and analysis. With just a few clicks of a button, the software automatically sets the gates for each population of the BEADYPLEX™ beads, acquires and analyses the external fluorescence signal, and confirms the presence/absence of antibiotics using a proprietary algorithm. The software also generates a report indicating the validity of the assay and identifying each analyzed sample as Positive or Negative for the 10 antibiotic families.