In collaboration with MIT, scientists from Ben-Guiron University of the Negev (BGU) have developed a new technology that can accurately assess pathogens from environmental samples in under 24 hours. Conventional methods can identify a strain of Salmonella from an environmental soil sample in 3-5 days. The team proved their technique after detecting a pathogen called Pseudomonas aeruginosa from a water sample much faster than conventional methods.
The basis for this new method is quantitative polymerase chain reaction (qPCR), and is used in molecular biology to monitor the real-time amplification of DNA. This process limits detection down to one cell, achieved by amplifying a piece of DNA and generating millions of copies of a particular sequence. Samples are then first enriched in a broth, then in a dilution series, and then enumerated by a technique called the "Most Probable Number" (MPN) estimation that is conducted using qPCR.