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Neogen launches first rapid test for ergot alkaloids

New test was developed, in part, to help cereal producers and processors meet expected new requirements in the European Union.

Neogen Corp. announced that it has developed a quick and simple lateral flow test for ergot alkaloids, which are natural toxins produced by a fungus that commonly infects rye and wheat. Ingestion of ergot alkaloids can cause ergotism, a dangerous disease in humans and animals.

Neogen's 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 eight minutes after extraction, the announcement said. 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, the company said.

"The advanced technology of this test truly changes everything about testing for ergot alkaloids," said John Adent, Neogen president and chief executive officer. "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."

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

Neogen said its 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 Raptor testing platforms control the timing, temperature and reading of the test strips, allowing testers to simply add a sample and walk away.

Neogen 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, including diagnostics, pharmaceuticals and veterinary instruments.

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