More than C$33.5 million is being spent in Canada to research and develop potato and tobacco plants capable of producing antibodies that can detect the presence of food-borne pathogens.
It will see researchers at the University of Guelph in Ontario develop plants capable of quickly detecting the presence of such pathogens as Listeria and E. coli 0157:H7; water-borne parasites such as Cryptosporidium parvum; and organic contaminants such as PCBs and dioxins.
The antibodies will then be incorporated into packaging materials for detecting the food-borne contaminants.
The research is part of a four-year C$90-million Healthy Futures for Ontario Agriculture program which aims to enhance the safety and quality of Ontario food products, capitalize on marketing and export opportunities, improve rural water quality, and make efficient use of water resources.
Government funding is available for up to 50 percent of project costs in most cases and up to 70 percent in special circumstances, with the balance met by project partners.