PrimusLabs, a Santa Maria, CA-based provider of microbiological and pesticide residue testing services as well as auditing services, data management, and training and education to the fresh produce industry, announced Monday that it has begun using the Roka Bioscience Atlas System at its American microbiology laboratories.

The Atlas System is a fully automated pathogen detection system that offers the highest sensitivity and specificity in the industry, according to Roka Bioscience. The system is said to provide greater accuracy, fewer false positives and false negatives, and full sample traceability.

The Atlas System leverages three core technologies to enhance accuracy:

  1. A Target Capture method using magnetic beads to isolate pathogen Ribosomal RNA (rRNA) strands to achieve greater sensitivity and specificity. Full automation significantly decreases the possibility of human error and cross-contamination.
  2. Transcription-Mediated Amplification (TMA), which allows for rapid amplification of the genetic material, resulting in greater testing accuracy and speed. A billion-fold amplification can take place in less than 30 minutes, according to the manufacturer.
  3. The Hybridization Protection Assay (HPA), which utilizes a light probe to emit a chemiluminescent marker, further enhancing sensitivity and specificity.

The Atlas System assays have been validated by the AOAC Research Institute (AOAC-RI) and have gained AOAC-RI approval. The assays include: Salmonella, E. coli O157, STEC (Shiga-toxigenic E. coli), L. mono (Listeria monocytogenes), and Listeria species. Each pathogen assay has been assigned its own AOAC certification number.

“PrimusLabs has made the commitment to bring the latest scientific technology to the fresh produce industry,” said Adam Hughes, assistant director of microbiology at PrimusLabs. “We believe the industry deserves the best. The ideas behind this technology are not new, but the way that Roka Bioscience has combined them into the Atlas System is what caught our interest. Combining these components with produce testing fits into our objective of providing our customers with correct results the first time."

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