Biosensing tool to detect salmonella holds promise for preventing common food poisoning

October 25, 2011

Pick your poison from this smorgasbord of recent salmonella outbreaks in the United States: ground turkey; fresh papayas; alfalfa sprouts. That's in 2011 alone, and the list goes on, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. But perhaps not for long, thanks to a promising new biosensor nanotechnology that could identify the presence of salmonella bacteria before contaminated food or animals reach the marketplace.

In the AIP's journal AIP Advances, research collaborators from the University of Pennsylvania and Alabama State University report encouraging early results toward the development of just such a tool.

"The key aspect of our work is that we detect salmonella in a medium that closely resembles the complexity of the real-world applications for food safety surveillance,'' explains Penn's A.T. Charlie Johnson, Ph.D. Carbon nanotubes are novel materials known for their unique atomic architecture. This endows them with remarkable electrical, mechanical, and physical properties. When combined with , such as antibodies, carbon nanotubes have the potential to perform a range of new and useful functions in miniature biotechnology devices – from detecting breast cancer cells to the Penn-Alabama State team's salmonella project.

"The large surface area of carbon nanotubes makes them very sensitive detectors. By combining that with the chemical specificity of antibodies for salmonella, we hope to create a device to protect the public health," explains Johnson. Further research is needed before a biosensor for salmonella is available commercially. But these results help bring the concept a step closer to reality – and to controlling food poisoning outbreaks.

Explore further: Salmonella causes illnesses in 14 states

More information: "A carbon nanotube immunosensor for Salmonella" by Mitchell B. Lerner et al., is published in AIP Advances.

Related Stories

Salmonella causes illnesses in 14 states

April 14, 2008

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration said at least 23 people in 14 states were diagnosed with salmonella poisoning caused by the same contaminated cereals.

New biosensor can detect bacteria instantaneously

September 8, 2009

A research group from the Rovira i Virgili University (URV) in Tarragona, Spain, has developed a biosensor that can immediately detect very low levels of Salmonella typhi, the bacteria that causes typhoid fever. The technique ...

Salmonella-tainted sprouts sicken 21 in US

June 28, 2011

An outbreak of salmonella poisoning in salad sprouts has sickened 21 people in the United States but is not connected to the German E. coli outbreak, health authorities said Tuesday.

Recommended for you

An engineered surface unsticks sticky water droplets

August 31, 2015

The leaves of the lotus flower, and other natural surfaces that repel water and dirt, have been the model for many types of engineered liquid-repelling surfaces. As slippery as these surfaces are, however, tiny water droplets ...

Electrical circuit made of gel can repair itself

August 25, 2015

(Phys.org)—Scientists have fabricated a flexible electrical circuit that, when cut into two pieces, can repair itself and fully restore its original conductivity. The circuit is made of a new gel that possesses a combination ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.