History of Oculer™
In December 2015 Oculer™ was officially launched, with the objective of providing dairy producers. milk suppliers and dairy consumers with a vastly superior quality product through its capacity to carry out mulitple test applications on a single platform for the dairy testing laboratory.
Oculer™ has been specifically developed and optimised for the detection of thermoduric bacteria in milk and associated dairy products. The system utilises a number of patented technologies and processes which, have facilitated the provision of a rapid, high throughput system for the accurate detection of thermodurics, and is developing a suite of products that will enable in-process and finished product testing for smaller sample sizes.
Bringing Thermoduric Bacteria to Light.
Since Technopath’s establishment in 1997, the dairy industry has represented a key market sector of interest. The Group specialises in the supply, implementation, and servicing of a number of rapid technologies, including: hygiene monitoring; pathogen detection; indicator organisms; antibiotic testing and milk quality systems. It was from this presence and knowledge of the market that the requirement for a fast, high-throughput and precise screening system for Thermoduric bacteria was first identified.
Following detailed commercial and technical viability studies, Technopath established Oculer™ to develop and subsequently commercialise a groundbreaking new assay technology, the capabilities of which include the precise measurement of thermoduric bacteria in both raw and pasteurised milk
From our long standing expertise and presence in the fields of Microbiology and Biochemistry, Oculer™ has developed a number of proprietary technologies for the enumeration of microorganisms on a wide variety of dairy matrices.
The Technology known as Oculer™ utilises a florescence sensor in a micro titer plate format. The principle of this sensor technology is based on its ability to emit light, indirectly proportional to the level of oxygen present.
As microorganisms grow, they consume oxygen and the florescence signal increases, therefore the higher the microbial load the greater the consumption rate of oxygen, resulting in an increased signal. This signal is captured in a purpose built system incorporating an automatic, high throughput incubator and florescence reader, utilising (Charged Couple Detection) CCD camera technology. The data captured by the camera is taken every 15 minutes allowing a kinetic read of the Microbial growth throughout the incubation period.
We work in a fast changing dynamic environment and believe that the core strength of our company lies in the team we have assembled bringing expertise across R&D, Production, Sales, Marketing, Service, Technical Support and Logistics. We believe our people are our most valuable asset, providing the energy, enthusiasm, reliability and of course expertise, for which TECHNOPATH is renowned. Our policy of continuous training is second to none, encouraging a product by product level of knowledge and skill that contributes to our market leading standards in customer service.
We supply our customers with products that provide complete solutions to their needs, which are backed up by a comprehensive technical support service. In order to meet our customers’ expectations we regularly review their needs and those of the market place. This information is captured, analysed and incorporated into our product design process, ensuring that our products are fully aligned to the requirements of the market place.
Thermoduric bacteria pose a very significant problem for milk processors due to their detrimental impact on shelf life and the tainting of dairy products. Their presence in raw milk supplies is a variable that is influenced by farm sanitation and hygiene practices, along with several external influences such as seasonality and weather conditions. Thermoduric bacteria are difficult to eliminate from a manufacturing process because of their resistance and the resistance of their spores to heat and chemical treatments. Dairy processors currently test incoming milk samples for thermoduric bacteria by laboratory pasteurisation count - which is slow, laborious and costly. Most importantly however, it is inherently imprecise.
Technopath partnered with Luxcel Biosciences at UCC, leaders in optical oxygen sensing technology, in order to deliver a versatile platform that assesses in vitro microbial growth in bespoke microtitre plates.
The fully patented Oculer technology automates the assessment of microbial growth by incubating, reading and interpreting results from up to 4800 Oculer™ test samples at a time. Flourescence measurements are performed kinetically to facilitate the earliest possible identification of highly contaminated samples. Readings are preformed every 15 minutes to allow the accurate determination of 'onset time' and by implication, an indicative cfu/mL measurement for every milk sample.
Thermoduric result in less than 24 hours.
Accurate, uniform, dry block pasteurisation process.
Accurate and reproducible results.
Detects and quantifies all thermoduric species.
96 well Microtitre plate based approach.
Significant reduction in labour and space requirements.
Reduced generation of waste.
Numerous throughput options.
Oculer™ T4800 is our flagship system for the rapid analysis of Thermoduric bacteria in liquid milk. It provides the ideal solution for the high throughput, centralised dairy testing laboratory – overcoming the serious limitations of current methods, with respect to speed, accuracy, standardisation and throughput. The system fulfils the key requirements of the “Lean Laboratory”, providing a significant increase in workflow efficiency, while reducing space, labour and waste management requirements. Capable of simultaneously analysing 4800 samples on microtitre platform Simple preparation of the test panel Random access Fully automated instrument incubates and reads samples kinetically Robust and stable software with intuitive User Interface Fully LIMS compatible
The OCUbloc is a specifically designed pasteurisation block capable of delivering a stable and uniform temperature across the template of a 96 well format. This allows pasteurisation to be completed accurately within agreed parameters of time and temperature.
Key features and benefits of OCUbloc™
Uniform accurate pasteurisation of samples. Programmable in terms of temperature and time. Single handling step. Reduced labour and space requirements. Safe easy to use. Customised throughput options.
OCUplate TD ™
The OCUplate TD is the first in a proposed series of Oculer rapid screen technologies for the dairy testing laboratory industry. The 96 well format which incorporates a pre-coated phosphorescence sensor technology in a heat stable format. A unique benefit of this heat stable format allows pasteurisation to be performed within the pre-coated plate.
Key features and benefits of OCUplate TD™
Industry recognised 96 well microtitre well format. Facilitates high throughput screening. Facilitates dry-block pasteurisation. Results within 24 hours. Reduced labour and space requirements Reduced waste.Removes subjective analysis.
What are Thermoduric Bacteria and what is their significance?
Thermoduric bacteria are organisms that are capable of surviving the pasteurisation process to varying extents, and which can subsequently proliferate under favorable conditions, resulting in contaminated products. While this contamination can be removed, the processes involved are costly and impact negatively in the quality of the final product. The presence of thermodurics therefore has a significant economic impact for both producer and processor, through product down grading and consequently lower pricing. This is particularly relevant in the production of milk powder and infant formulation products, where ingredients of optimal specification are required and can therefore command premium pricing. For products such as liquid milk, thermoduric bacteria at sufficient levels have the potential to proliferate, causing tainting, spoilage and reduced shelf life. This can lead to a series of negative impacts on the processor, including; product recalls and damage to brand reputation.
Where do Thermodurics come from?
Thermodurics have their origin in the environment, mainly occurring in silage, faeces, animal bedding and soil. Ultimately the cows become carriers for these organisms and it is the teat, which provides the primary source of contamination to the milk during milking.
Once thermoduric bacteria enter the farmers milking system they can survive and proliferate under a wide range of conditions. As a consequence of the bacteria’s adapted life cycle and survival mechanism, they are very difficult to eradicate.
How are Thermodurics detected?
Up to recently the most common method for detecting and quantifying thermodurics was through the use of traditional agar methods, preceded by a milk sample pasteurisation step using a water bath. These methods are labour intensive, take up to three days to result, and are difficult to scale as the requirement for testing increases. In addition they are prone to error, due to the difficulty in standardising the pasteurisation process and the ability of the agar methods to quantify certain species, in particular Bacillus which has a preponderance to “swarm” making it uncountable on a plate. With the consequential economic impact on all stages of the dairy industry, it is obvious that a rapid and robust system for analysis of thermoduric bacteria is required. It is critical when the incidence of thermoduric bacteria occurs that it detected quickly and reliably. Over the past number of years TECHNOPATH have worked closely with some of the market leading milk processors, to identify their needs and develop a system which is specifically designed for the dairy industry’s current requirements.
We are currently in the process of seeking distribution partners.
TECHNOPATH LIFE SCIENCES PARK,
CO. TIPPERARY, IRELAND.
Tel: +353 61 525310
Fax: +353 61 203034