How Our System Works


How does it work?

The technology the system uses to detect mastitis-causing pathogens is called PCR. The Acu-POLARIS pathogen detection system includes an easy-to-use tablet and app that walks the user through the PCR process step by step, eliminating errors, No internet connection is required and instructions are offered in multiple languages.




What is PCR?

Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) technology tests for the presence of specific bacterial species. A part of the pathogen’s DNA is amplified by heating and cooling and then visualized by the machine.


PCR Visualized

The polymerase chain reaction (PCR), is a process that can turn a single copy of a gene into more than a billion copies in a few hours. This process allows us to detect mastitis causing pathogens in very small samples of milk. PCR is very specific! When using PCR, the DNA of the pathogen you are testing for must be present for our assay to identify it. It is either there or it is not, resulting in a positive or negative result. There is no guessing as there is in culturing.


How does PCR work?

The principle behind every PCR, whatever the sample of DNA, are the same. Five core ‘ingredients’ are required to set up a PCR:

  • The DNA template to be copied
  • Primers - short stretches of DNA that start the PCR reaction
  • dNTP’s - Nucleotide Bases, (ACGT) are the building blocks of DNA and are needed to make a new strand of DNA
  • Taq Polymerase - an enzyme to add the new DNA bases
  • Buffer - ensures the right conditions for the reaction


PCR involves a process of heating and cooling called thermal cycling, which is carried out by the machine.

  • There are three main stages:
  • Denaturing - when the double-stranded template DNA is heated to separate it into two single strands.
  • Annealing - when the temperature is lowered to enable the DNA primers to attach to the template DNA.
  • Extending - when the temperature is raised and the new strand of DNA is made by the enzyme.