It combines three detection technologies.
Initially, a magnetic capture step latches onto target material and washes away all else. Then the genetic material is copied repeatedly — up to a billion copies in less than 30 minutes, according to PrimusLabs. Finally, a probe attaches to each copy and emits light — comparable to the emission of light by fireflies. The amount of light is measured.
Atlas can be used on all types of produce as well as environmental samples.
The capture step uses magnetic beads to isolate pathogen ribosomal RNA strands. Targeting those strands virtually eliminates false negatives, according to the company. The amplification of genetic material is facilitated by a surplus — up to 10,000 in fresh produce — of ribosomal RNA over DNA.
The Atlas System assays for pathogens like salmonella, E. coli O157:H7, Shiga toxigenic E. coli and listeria have been certified by the AOAC Research Institute.