New technology could offer cheaper, faster food testing

The new test involves using specialized droplets that bind together in a specific way if harmful bacteria are present. The result can be detected by either the naked eye or a smartphone.
Updated 09 May 2017
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New technology could offer cheaper, faster food testing

Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) have developed a new sensor that uses smartphone technology to detect harmful bacteria in food, including Escherichia coli (E.coli). The sensor was developed by the research lab of Timothy Swager, the John D. MacArthur professor of chemistry at MIT, in a project supported by MIT’s Abdul Latif Jameel World Water and Food Security Lab (J-WAFS) Solutions program.
J-WAFS Solutions is sponsored by Community Jameel, and aims to help MIT faculty and students commercialize breakthrough technologies and inventions that have applications for critical food and water challenges.
Current food safety testing often involves culturing food samples to see if harmful bacterial colonies grow, but that process can take as long as two to three days and is generally conducted offsite in specialist labs.
The new test involves using specialized droplets that bind together in a specific way if harmful bacteria are present. The result can be detected by either the naked eye or a smartphone, offering faster and cheaper food safety testing that could be carried out onsite.
According to the World Health Organization, one in ten people fall ill every year from eating contaminated food and 420,000 die as a result. Children under five years of age are at particularly high risk, with 125,000 children dying from foodborne diseases every year.
Providing a cheaper and more accessible technology could allow early detection of foodborne pathogens from producer to consumer, reducing the risk to the public of consuming contaminated food.
The J-WAFS was created at MIT to spearhead research that will help humankind adapt to a rapidly changing planet and combat world-wide water scarcity and food supply. In addition, the lab elevates MIT’s commitment to addressing the collective pressure of population growth, urbanization, and climate variability — factors that endanger food and water systems in developing and developed countries alike.


Top CEO Conference & Awards wraps up in Bahrain

Updated 17 April 2019
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Top CEO Conference & Awards wraps up in Bahrain

The Top CEO Conference & Awards 2019, organized by TRENDS magazine — Mediaquest and international business school INSEAD, has concluded at the Al-Areen Palace and Spa in Bahrain. The event, held on Thursday, included seven key panel discussions under the theme “Growth in a Volatile Future” as well as the Top CEO Awards 2019 ceremony, which recognized the region’s most successful and trendsetting CEOs from more than 700 companies listed on GCC stock exchanges.

Top business leaders and more than 30 speakers from across the GCC shed light on the Middle East’s dynamic but volatile region and the burning issues facing the corporate world today. This year’s theme focused on a score of relevant issues, such as oil price fluctuations, tech disruptions, armed and political schisms that pose new risks, and opportunities. Speakers such as renowned economist Professor Nouriel Roubini provided growth solutions and road maps for businesses in the GCC region.

Alexandre Hawari, CEO of Mediaquest, said: “In its fifth edition, the Top CEO Conference & Awards fully encapsulated the theme of ‘Growth in a Volatile Future’ by acknowledging and exploring the growth transformation that the region is undergoing through digitalization and the fourth industrial revolution amid geopolitical tensions, looming trade wars and a rapidly evolving business environment. Building on the huge success of the previous years, the Top CEO Awards 2019 recognized CEOs and companies who have raised the bar by navigating challenges, implementing new strategies, and have demonstrated unquestionable growth, profitability and excellence in corporate governance.”

The conference kicked off with an opening keynote from Jassim Al-Seddiqi, CEO of the Abu Dhabi Financial Group and chairman of GFH Financial Group, who delved into the potential of transforming the region into a fintech hub and the importance of jumping on the digital bandwagon. 

The prime panel discussion on the “Future of Growth Amid Volatility” brought together five CEOs who explored methods to create future-proof strategies that can not only tackle challenges but also boost growth in a tough geopolitical and economic climate. 

Hisham Al-Rayes, CEO and board member of the GFH Financial Group, said: “Investing in the future in areas such as fintech, education and technology, the foundations for strong, enduring knowledge-based economies, is a priority for the group and the governments of the region in which we invest.”

“The Blockchain Opportunity” and “The Human Factor and Tech Innovation” panels brought together industry experts from Facebook, the Bahrain FinTech Bay and King Abdul Aziz University. 

“The Future of Women’s Business Leadership” panel discussed positive strides taken by GCC governments and businesses in leveling the playing field for women professionals.