Fluorescent device detects harmful bacteria on food industry surfaces

Scientists at the University of Southampton in England are trialing a new device they developed that samples and detects—in hours rather than days—Listeria monocytogenes, a pathogen that is transmitted by ready-to-eat foods such as milk, cheese, vegetables, and cold cuts.

Related: New biochip in development could detect pathogenic markers rapidly

The device can sample single cells and biofilms (groups of microorganisms where cells stick together on surfaces): compressed air and water is used to remove the cells before they are introduced to an antibody. If Listeria monocytogenes is present, cells react with the antibody to produce a fluorescent signal, which is detected by a special camera.

Dr. Salomé Gião and Prof. Bill Keevil from Southampton’s Centre for Biological Science Unit have been studying Listeria monocytogenes biofilms under different conditions. "We researched biofilms under different stresses to find the optimum pressure to remove cells from different surfaces without disrupting the cells themselves," says Gião. "We also found that biofilms can form on surfaces, even if they are covered in tap water."

The Southampton work is part of the Biolisme project, which is working to develop a biosensor capable of collecting and detecting Listeria monocytogenes on food industry surfaces, thereby preventing contaminated products from entering the market. The project was started in 2009 by a consortium of six partners from four different countries, and is funded by the EU’s Seventh Framework Programme for Research (FP7).

Back row (left to right): Prof. Bill Keevil (University of Southampton), Fernando Lorenzo (Betelgeux, Spain), and José Belenguer (ainia, Spain). Middle: Sonia Porta (ainia, Spain), Shobitha Sundararajan (Photek, UK), Front: Martin Ingle (Photek), Dr. Salomé Gião (University of Southampton), and Niamh Gilmartin (DCU, Ireland).
Back row (left to right): Prof. Bill Keevil (University of Southampton), Fernando Lorenzo (Betelgeux, Spain), and José Belenguer (ainia, Spain). Middle: Sonia Porta (ainia, Spain), Shobitha Sundararajan (Photek, UK), Front: Martin Ingle (Photek), Dr. Salomé Gião (University of Southampton), and Niamh Gilmartin (DCU, Ireland).

Current techniques to detect Listeria monocytogenes take days of testing in labs, but the new device aims to collect and detect the pathogen on location within three to four hours. This early and rapid detection can avoid the cross-contamination of ready-to-eat food products. Traditional methods of testing, where sample cells are cultivated in labs, are also flawed. 'Stressed' cells will not grow in cultures (and will therefore produce negative results) despite the bacteria being present, live, and potentially harmful. Alternative techniques, based on molecular methods, will detect all cell types, but don’t differentiate between live and harmless dead cells, which can remain after disinfection.

The prototype device has been finalized in France and field trials are now underway to test the device before it is demonstrated in food factories.

For more information, please visit http://www.biolisme.eu.

-----

Don't miss Strategies in Biophotonics, a conference and exhibition dedicated to development and commercialization of bio-optics and biophotonics technologies!

Follow us on Twitter, 'like' us on Facebook, and join our group on LinkedIn

Subscribe now to BioOptics World magazine; it's free!

Get All the BioOptics World News Delivered to Your Inbox

Subscribe to BioOptics World Magazine or email newsletter today at no cost and receive the latest news and information.

 Subscribe Now
Related Articles

New bioimaging technique offers clear view of nervous system

Scientists at Ludwig-Maximilians University have developed a technique for turning the body of a deceased rodent entirely transparent, revealing the central nervous system in unprecedented clarity....

Fluorescent jellyfish proteins light up unconventional laser

Safer lasers to map your cells could soon be in the offing -- all thanks to the humble jellyfish. Conventional lasers, like the pointer you might use to entertain your cat, produce light by emittin...

Fluorescence microscopy helps provide new insight into how cancer cells metastasize

By using fluorescence microscopy, scientists have discovered an alternate theory on how some cancer cells metastasize.

In vivo imaging method visualizes bone-resorbing cell function in real time

In vivo imaging can visualize sites where osteoclasts (bone-resorbing cells) were in the process of resorbing bone.

BLOGS

Neuro15 exhibitors meet exacting demands: Part 2

Increasingly, neuroscientists are working with researchers in disciplines such as chemistry and p...

Why be free?

A successful career contributed to keeping OpticalRayTracer—an optical design software program—fr...

LASER Munich 2015 is bio-bent

LASER World of Photonics 2015 included the European Conferences on Biomedical Optics among its si...

White Papers

Understanding Optical Filters

Optical filters can be used to attenuate or enhance an image, transmit or reflect specific wavele...

How can I find the right digital camera for my microscopy application?

Nowadays, image processing is found in a wide range of optical microscopy applications. Examples ...

CONNECT WITH US

            

Twitter- BioOptics World