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28 May 2014 Detection of pathogens in food using a SERS-based assay in just a few hours
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In 2011 Escherichia, Listeria, and Salmonella species infected over 1.2 million people in the United States, resulting in over 23,000 hospitalizations and 650 deaths. In January 2013 President Obama signed into law the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA), which requires constant microbial testing of food processing equipment and food to minimize contamination and distribution of food tainted with pathogens. The challenge to preventing distribution and consumption of contaminated foods lies in the fact that just a few bacterial cells can rapidly multiply to millions, reaching infectious doses within a few days. Unfortunately, current methods used to detect these few cells rely on similar growth steps to multiply the cells to the point of detection, which also takes a few days. Consequently, there is a critical need for an analyzer that can rapidly extract and detect foodborne pathogens at 1000 colony forming units per gram of food in 1-2 hours (not days), and with a specificity that differentiates from indigenous microflora, so that false alarms are eliminated. In an effort to meet this need, we have been developing an assay that extracts such pathogens from food, selectively binds these pathogens, and produces surface-enhanced Raman spectra (SERS) when read by a Raman analyzer. Here we present SERS measurements of these pathogens in actual food samples using this assay.
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Chetan Shende, Atanu Sengupta, Hermes Huang, and Stuart Farquharson "Detection of pathogens in food using a SERS-based assay in just a few hours", Proc. SPIE 9108, Sensing for Agriculture and Food Quality and Safety VI, 91080G (28 May 2014);

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