Reactiva Laboratorio adds detection of virus and pathogens to its services, using the PCR technique in real time
Reactiva Laboratorio has just taken a qualitative leap by starting up a new microbiology laboratory to carry out analyses on food pathogens. Equipped with the latest and most reliable technology on the market, the company can provide results about virus and bacteria pathogens in barely 24 hours, thanks to the PCR technique in real time. “We are using the same technology as hospitals to discover the different types of diseases, but in this case focussing on the DNA to detect bacteriological problems such as E. coli, Salmonella or Listeria monocytogenes, and virus such as Norovirus and Hepatitis A,” explains the technical head of the Microbiology and Molecular Biology department, Isaac Hidalgo. Supermarkets and middlemen request this type of analysis most, which, on the other hand, usually gives negative results. “In Spain, and particularly in production areas as important as Almeria and Murcia, they take great care with hygiene and control and these problems are not frequent. Although we should not let our guard down due to the danger for consumers regarding the presence of these pathogen micro-organisms in fruit and vegetable produce, as they are mainly eaten raw. Countries in Northern Africa are another question altogether due to the hygienic-sanitary conditions they work with and their water – even the drinking water.”
Another type of analysis that can be performed in the new department, with greater focus on producers, has to do with the detection and counting of bacteria that indicate the quality of the fruit and vegetables and the hygiene of the production processes. “Cooperatives, for example, use it to check whether the cleaning products that they use are effective or if they are working correctly in each phase of the process, which prevents problems later on.” Although in this case the micro-organisms to be analysed are not dangerous to health, in high concentrations they cause digestive problems and may shorten the shelf life of the produce.
Currently the company is engaged in the first phase of the project and it is already working on obtaining the ENAC certification, which could be ready in the spring. A bonus for the companies, after taking part in the inter-laboratory test which, through an external company, corroborated the reliability of the company’s analytical methods.
In the second phase, starting next summer, they will implement analyses to detect GMO and food allergens, as well as plant pathology for analysing disease-causing bacteria and fungi. All of this is aimed at continuing to bring value to its clients through its main distinguishing features: speed and reliability.