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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service


Location: Quality and Safety Assessment Research Unit

2008 Annual Report

1a.Objectives (from AD-416)
Develop, test, and prototype rapid optical systems and methods to detect food contaminants, particularly contaminants found in the poultry industry such as fecal contaminants on poultry carcasses. Develop optical systems to detect intentional and unintentional biological, physical, and chemical contamination of food products.

1b.Approach (from AD-416)
A real-time on-line fecal detection system, which consists of a multispectral imaging camera, lighting, and detection algorithm, will be prototyped. Multispectral and hyperspectral imaging systems will be used to identify physical hazards in poultry meat. Hyperspectral imaging in transmission mode will be used with structured lighting to identify embedded bones in breast filets. Hyperspectral imaging will also be used with white and brown shell eggs to identify both internal defects such as blood spots, meat spots, and bacterial contamination, and external defects such as fecal matter on shells and cracked shells. Hyperspectral imaging systems will be also be used to identify bacterial and chemical agents in meat and meat products. Collaboration with ARS Instrumentation and Sensing Laboratory, BARC, FSIS, and the University of Georgia Biological and Agricultural Engineering Department will be used to aid and enhance the research.

3.Progress Report
The Project Plan focuses on the development (and validation) of On-Line Sensing Systems that Assists Processing and Food Security have Application in Component 1.2 Pathogens, Toxins and Chemical Contaminants Postharvest, Problem Areas 1.2.2 On-Line Sensing Systems and 1.2.9 Food Security in the National Program 108 Food Safety Action Plan. The research also addresses Agency Performance Measures 3.1.2: Develop and transfer to Federal agencies and private sector systems that rapidly and accurately detect, identify, and differentiate the most critical and economically important foodborne microbial pathogens.

Pathogen Detection on Agar Plates. Campylobacter commonly found in poultry is the leading foodborne pathogen causing diarrhea illness. Current methods for detecting and identifying Campylobacter are time-consuming and complicated. We are developing an imaging method, known as hyperspectral imaging, to discriminate Campylobacter cultures growing in agar from non-pathogenic cultures commonly found in poultry processing. Once fully developed, the imaging system is expected to automatically locate and identify Campylobacters grown on agar plates from non-pathogenic organisms and will have the potential to reduce the incubation time and identify other pathogenic bacteria (Objective 2b).

Fertility of Broiler Hatching Eggs. Approximately 30 billion broiler hatching eggs are produced in the world each year. Up to 10 percent are not fertile yet are incubated anyway. An accurate and automated system to remove these eggs prior to incubation would be an invaluable aid to poultry hatcheries (Objective 2b). A camera system was configured to image fertile and infertile eggs prior to incubation and then each during the first 3 days of incubation. Data from the camera was then analyzed with a mathematical modeling process to separate fertile from infertile eggs. Although the initial testing and analysis was promising, eventually the model system did not produce results that were accurate enough to be considered for a commercial system. Further analysis and modeling of the collected data will continue.

Nanotechnology for Food Pathogen Detection We used nanotechnology to develop a method for surface plasmon resonance for use in chemical and biological sensors. It is known that metallic nanoparticles can exhibit localized surface plasmon resonance (LSPR) when excited by light due to the collective oscillation of metallic nanoparticles. However, for sensing applications, it is very important to engineer the nanostructure so that one can adjust the LSPR wavelength that is excited. We developed a simple but versatile fabrication technique to tune the LSPR excitation wavelength of silver thin films to shorter wavelengths in the blue region. Since different applications require specific LSPR wavelengths and absorbance spectra, an optimal surface passivation method is being studied for foodborne pathogen detection, which can be of great potential in identifying different food safety and security contaminants (Objective 2b and 3).

1. Micro-Crack Detection for Table Eggs. The USDA, Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) asked for a method to help graders identify hairline micro-cracks in table eggs. We have developed a 20-egg batch-process imaging system to detect these small cracks by enhancing the cracks by pulling a small vacuum in the image chamber which has resulted in an extremely accurate method to detect the cracks. Further enhancements to the system include a user-friendly, touch-screen database method for recording the number of egg cracks and other egg features that cause downgrades, which the AMS graders are currently documenting with pen and paper. The system will help the graders by increasing their accuracy, removing subjectivity, reducing data transfer errors, increasing their productivity, and dramatically changing the way eggs are currently graded. This addresses National Program 108 Food Safety Action Plan, Component 1.2 Pathogens, Toxins and Chemical Contaminants Postharvest, 1.2.2 On-line Sensing Systems that Assist Processing and Have Application in Food Security.

5.Significant Activities that Support Special Target Populations

6.Technology Transfer

Number of Non-Peer Reviewed Presentations and Proceedings7

Review Publications
Berrang, M.E., Meinersmann, R.J., Smith, D.P., Zhuang, H. 2008. The effect of chilling in cold air or ice water on the microbiological quality of broiler carcasses and the population of Campylobacter. Poultry Science. 87(5):992-998.

Hannah, J.F., Fletcher, D.L., Cox Jr, N.A., Smith, D.P., Cason Jr, J.A., Northcutt, J.K., Buhr, R.J., Richardson, L.J. 2008. Effect of sand and shaking duration on the recovery of aerobic bacteria, coliforms, and Escherichia coli from prechill broiler whole carcass rinsates. Applied Poultry Research. 17:(2)272-277.

Huezo, R., Northcutt, J.K., Smith, D.P., Fletcher, D.L. 2007. Effect of chilling method and post-mortem aging time on broiler breast fillet quality. Journal of Applied Poultry Research. 16:537-545.

Kise, M., Park, B., Lawrence, K.C., Windham, W.R. 2007. Design and Calibration of a Dual-band Imaging System. Sensing and Instrumentation for Food Quality and Safety. 1(3): 113-121.

Kise, M., Park, B., Lawrence, K.C., Windham, W.R. 2008. Development of Handheld Multispectral Imaging For Food Safety Inspection. Biological Engineering (ASABE).

Lawrence, K.C., Yoon, S.C., Heitschmidt, G.W., Jones, D.R., Park, B. 2008. Imaging system with modified-pressure chamber for crack detection in shell-eggs. Sensing and Instrumentation for Food Quality and Safety.2:116-122

Northcutt, J.K., Huezo, R.I., Ingram, K.D., Smith, D.P. 2008. Microbiology of Broiler Carcasses and Chemistry of Chiller Water as Affected by Water Reuse. Poultry Science. 87:1458-1463.

Park, B., Kise, M., Windham, W.R., Lawrence, K.C., Yoon, S.C. 2008. Textural Analysis of Hyperspectral Images for Improving Contaminant Detection Accuracy. Sensing and Instrumentation for Food Quality and Safety. 2(3):208-214.

Smith, D.P., Musgrove, M.T. 2008. Effect of blood spots on table egg albumen on Salmonella growth. Poultry Science. 87: 1659-1661

Windham, W.R., Heitschmidt, G.W., Lawrence, K.C., Park, B., Smith, D.P. 2008. Effect of spectrally mixed pixels on detection of cecal contaminated broiler carcasses. International Journal of Poultry Science. 6(12):955-959.

Fu, J., Park, B., Siragusa, G.R., Jones, L., Tripp, R.A., Zhao, Y., Cho, Y. 2008. Au/Si Hetero-Nanorod-based Biosensor for Salmonella Detection. Nanotechnoloyg 19: 155502.

Yoon, S.C., Lawrence, K.C., Smith, D.P., Park, B., Windham, W.R. 2008. Bone fragment detection in chicken breast fillets using transmittance image enhancement. Transactions of the ASABE 51 (1): 331-339.

Yoon, S.C., Lawrence, K.C., Smith, D.P., Park, B., Windham, W.R. 2008. Embedded bone fragment detection in poultry using transmittance image enhancement and hyperspectral reflectance imaging. Sensing and Instrumentation for Food Quality and Safety, 10.1007/s11694-008-9044-1 (online version).

Park, B. 2008. Quality Inspection of Poultry Carcasses. Food Quality and Preference. Chapter 7 in Computer Vision Technology for Food Quality Evaluation (ed. Da-Wen Sun). Elsevier Press: 157-187. 2008

Last Modified: 7/25/2014
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