A testing service launched by a new company is set to make the identification of common diseases in pigs and poultry “quicker and more specific.”

Molecular Diagnostic Testing recently set up in Craven Arms, Shropshire, uses polymerase chain reaction methods to detect bacterial and viral DNA and RNA.

It differs from existing culture tests as it can detect non-viable (dead) micro-organisms from areas of tissue, throat swabs, blood and faeces. Whereas existing culture tests rely on viable bacteria and viruses to enable the target organism to be identified.

Rob Harrison, technical director of MDT, said the new technology will make testing for certain diseases including salmonella and Porcine Reproductive and Respiratory Syndrome “quicker and more specific.”

He MDT set up the technology to provide a “sophisticated testing service for veterinary surgeons.”

“The new tests are expected to be a lot more precise distinguishing between exact strains of bacteria.”

He added that the PCR tests can also be completed a lot quicker, between 24-48 hours.

“This quicker time enables treatment for a disease to be started earlier, resulting in a quicker response.” Mr Harrison goes on to say: “It also means tests can be conducted on breeding animals for export closer to despatch date.”