Narrator: This is Science Today. A new, highly sensitive livestock feed test has been developed to guard the nation's food supply against mad cow and similar diseases. Veterinary professor Jim Cullor of the University of California, Davis, who led the team of researchers, says the test uses DNA analysis to identify infected proteins in feed products to be consumed by ruminant animals, including cows and sheep. While there are other screening tests in place, they tend to be less specific or can take days to perform.
Cullor: Our tests will go down to .05% contamination rate in about five hours and it's more specific to ruminant DNA. So this test would be an improvement in that it's using the latest forensics DNA type techniques and it's all towards food safety, public health, animal health issues. What we've tried to do is enhance the current testing system - so it's really an improvement I terms of being able to assure that the feed going to the animals is not contaminated.
For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.