New Nanoparticle technology being used to study food-borne pathogens

Rapid and accurate detection of human pathogens in food and clinical samples is crucial in ensuring food safety and public health. Dr. Shu Chen is a research scientist at Lab Services at the University of Guelph. She and her team are working on an important research project that deals with food safety and public health.
The aim of this research is to develop a rapid, sensitive and low cost method for detecting and measuring food-borne pathogens based on nanoparticle technology and a novel low-cost fluorescence cell reader. The fluorescent nanoparticles (FNPs) were coupled with antibodies specific for Salmonella and Listeria monocytogenes. The bioconjugated FNPs contained thousands of dye molecules that emit fluorescence when excited in the corresponding spectrum (the cells light up or glow). The binding of FNPs to individual bacterial cells enabled amplification of the fluorescent signal as compared to direct labeling with fluorescent antibodies.
Antibody-conjugated magnetic NPs allowed separation of the target cells from non-target organisms and food particles. The low-cost (prototype) fluorescent cell reader based on imaging of each individual bacteria, successfully detected the FNP-labelled target cells.
This research is expanding the capabilities of being able to study, observe and detect harmful food-borne pathogens

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