UK – Multinational food safety test kits supplier, Neogen Corporation has developed a quick and simple lateral flow test for ergot alkaloids – natural toxins produced by a fungus that commonly infects rye and wheat.

According to the company, the new Reveal Q+ MAX for Ergot Alkaloids delivers precise quantitative results in the range of 50 to 5,000 parts per billion (ppb) in only 8 minutes after extraction.

This new test is the first for ergot alkaloids in the simple rapid lateral flow format, and is compatible for use with Neogen’s innovative Raptor testing platform.

Commenting on the launch, John Adent, Neogen’s president and CEO said: “The advanced technology of this test truly changes everything about testing for ergot alkaloids.

“Until we developed this product, the only options that testers had were complex laboratory methods or imprecise visual tests.

“If you use one of our Raptor testing platforms, accurately testing for ergot alkaloids, or many other natural toxins, doesn’t get any easier.”

Ingestion of ergot alkaloids can cause ergotism, a dangerous disease in humans and animals.

Ergotism was historically known as “Holy Fire” due to the painful burning sensation it can cause, and is thought to have been the cause of countless deaths in the Middle Ages.

Because of the well-established risk to human and animal health posed by ergot alkaloids, legislation regulating the toxins is expected soon in the European Union.

Neogen noted that the new test was developed, in part, to help cereal producers and processors meet new requirements that the new legislation will impose.

Neogen’s Reveal Q+ MAX tests for natural toxins provide rapid, fully quantitative test results and use only water for extraction, as opposed to other systems that use hazardous materials, such as methanol, for extraction.

The food safety solution provider explains that the Raptor testing platforms control the timing, temperature and reading of the test strips, allowing testers to simply add a sample and walk away.

In addition, the testing platform also protect the integrity and consistency of testing data by processing and analyzing results without additional operator input.

Neogen Corporation develops and markets products dedicated to food and animal safety.

The company’s Food Safety Division markets culture media and diagnostic test kits to detect foodborne bacteria, natural toxins, food allergens, drug residues, plant diseases, and sanitation concerns.

Neogen’s Animal Safety Division is a leader in worldwide biosecurity products, animal genomics testing, and the manufacturing and distribution of a variety of animal healthcare products.