I hope you’re all doing well. Today I’m writing you from a different desk, in a cosy lab in Barcelona. I arrived here 2 weeks ago to start my first project secondment, in which I intend to optimize an immunological assay using my gold nanoparticles to detect Mycobacterium bovis, an important foodborne pathogen, potentially life-threatening that one can find in his breakfast glass of milk. The likelihood of this happening is frankly small, due to the great improvements over the last decades in food regulations and testing in the EU. However, there’s still many cases of cattle giving positive results in M. bovis testing. This activates an urgent action’s chain that includes recalling all the products that contain or have been made of these animals, which can be an issue if these are already in the supermarket shelves. This is why testing is still required, faster and more robust. It is actually when the consumer thinks that there’s no need for such testing when we can say the food safety work is being done properly. Of course this doesn’t mean that the food should no longer be tested. Other bacteria such as Listeria monocytogenes, Salmonella, Escherichia coli or Bacillus are important microbiological contamination agents in dairy products, as described by the RASFF Portal. And all of them need to be tested in a strict and routine way to keep a low number of cases taking place.
Coming back to my day to day work, as I said before I am now doing a secondment at CSIC, in the group Nanobiotechnology for Diagnostics under the supervision of M. Pilar Marco, Pablo Salvador and Roger Galve. I’ve had a very warm welcome in this lab from everyone and even though I’ve only been here for 2 weeks, I’m very happy with all I’m learning here. The centre is divided in several labs depending on the experiment you want to do. So far I’ve only worked in the “ELISA lab”, where I have started optimizing the conditions for my assay. I was surprised when I first stepped in and saw how well organized the lab was to work with immunological assays. In these first days I’ve determined the specificity of a bunch of recognition elements for M. bovis that I had been provided with, showing some of them a very good recognition and some others a poorer one.
Also I had the chance to know Julián a bit better, the new incorporation to the FoodSmartphone project, that’s quickly integrated in the group and is already working and generating some good results in the lab. It is a pity that Klaudia is now doing her secondment as well, in Switzerland, but I’m sure she’s having a very fruitful time over there after reading her blog last week.
That’s all for today, time waits for no one and there are many experiments I want to do during this 2 months I’m being in CSIC, taking advantage of the facilities and expertise I can have access to here. Looking forward to seeing you all in June in the Summer School that’s being organized in Belfast.