Food spin-off from Defence lab's rapid diagnostics technology

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Polymerase chain reaction, Dna

Rapid diagnostic equipment designed for the battlefield could also be used in a food crises

A portable mini-lab designed for defence needs could also be used to cut the detection of food pathogens, genetic modification or animal diseases from hours to just 30 minutes.

Scientists at the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (DSTL) first used the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) process to develop fast accurate battlefield detection systems for biological warfare agents. But the system's wider potential was soon realised and now DSTL is launching a joint venture with industry to commercialise the technology.

The spin-off company, called Enigma Diagnostics, will launch two rapid, fully-automated diagnostic machines. It has adapted the PCR process and created unique features that can provide in-the-field testing.

Applications include rapid in-the-field testing for diseases such as foot and mouth and tuberculosis (TB) in cattle; genetic modifications (GM) in foodstuffs at the food processing plant or point of sale, as well as spot contamination tests for pathogens such as Salmonella, Listeria and E.coli.

DSTL chief executive Martin Earwicker says: "As the research arm of the Ministry of Defence, DSTL leads the way in defence science and technology. There are often wider uses for this excellent work and we are proud to announce yet another spin-out company which can make a real difference in the field of diagnostics."

Enigma Diagnostics has £5m funding from a consortium of investors led by Porton Capital and the Treasury/private venture company Partnerships UK.

Based on the Tetricus Science Park at DSTL in Porton Down, Enigma Diagnostics has access to a wide range of equipment, facilities and expertise.

Contact: DSTL, Tel: 01980 613933

Related topics: Hygiene, safety & cleaning

Related products

Listeria Management & Drainage: 5 Essential Steps

Listeria Management & Drainage: 5 Essential Steps

Aco Building Drainage | 26-Apr-2019 | Technical / White Paper

Listeria is widely recognised as a universal problem for food and drink manufacturers. To ensure effective listeria management and control, food and drink...

Hygienic design boosts quality and safety

Hygienic design boosts quality and safety

Minebea Intec | 16-Aug-2018 | Technical / White Paper

Avoiding food contamination and increasing product safety are key objectives of all food producers. It is critical to prevent any type of contamination...


Adulteration versus contamination, protecting our food

Fera Science Ltd. | 30-Oct-2017 | Technical / White Paper

Adulteration affects the confidence of the public as well as business. Meat products are one of the most commonly adulterated foods – we review the challenges...

With a summer of food scares – be better informed

With a summer of food scares – be better informed

Fera Science Ltd. | 23-Oct-2017 | Technical / White Paper

Recalls and supply chain visibility are big issues right now with a summer of food scares - make sure you have the vital tools to ensure your food defence...

Related suppliers

Follow us

Featured Events

View more


View more