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Two Mid-Missouri professors — along with a team of student researchers — have developed and patented a device intended to make food safer.

They've been working on the project since 2008, LU spokeswoman Misty Young told the News Tribune on Tuesday.

A Lincoln University news release said the "High Sensitivity Impedance Sensor" is "state-of-the-art biotechnology (that) significantly reduces the testing time for contaminants from three days to 14 hours. Food processing companies will now be able to rapidly test their products within hours rather than days before shipping to consumers."

And the sensor is expected to "strengthen processors' line of defense against E.coli, Salmonella and Listeria outbreaks."

According to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, foodborne illness affects one in six people in the United States per year, resulting in approximately 3,000 deaths.

Contaminated foods cost more than $15.6 billion in product recalls each year.

The professors involved in the research and development project were:

  • Majed El-Dweik, Ph.D., professor of Biological Engineering and interim dean of Lincoln University's College of Agriculture, Environmental and Human Sciences.
  • Mahmoud Almasri, Ph.D., a University of Missouri-Columbia associate professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science.
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