Biomimetic nanosensors for measuring pathogenic bacteria in complex food matrices (Conference Presentation)

Campus Units

Mechanical Engineering, Virtual Reality Applications Center

Document Type



SPIE Defense + Commercial Sensing

Publication Version

Published Version

Publication Date


Journal or Book Title

Proceedings of SPIE, Smart Biomedical and Physiological Sensor Technology XV



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Conference Title

SPIE Defense + Commercial Sensing

Conference Date

April 15-16, 2019


Baltimore, MD


Listeria monocytogenes and Salmonella spp. are among the most common cause of foodborne illnesses that negatively affect consumers’ health and food producers’ finances and credibility. Techniques used to detect pathogens (e.g., total viable counts, polymerase chain reaction, and enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays) are time consuming and costly as they require laboratory conditions with trained personnel. To meet this demand without compromising public health concerns, highly sensitive and rapid sensors are needed in food processing facilities for pathogen detection to reduce cost and holding time for food products. Ideally, these sensors should be small, label-free, low cost, portable, and highly sensitive/selective. This study describes some recent approaches for creating biomimetic sensors by optimizing the bacteria capture efficiency without the need for pre-concentration and pre-labeling steps. Two in-field biosensors were developed for measuring pathogenic bacteria in food matrices. The first example consists of pH-responsive polymer nanobrushes embedded with platinum nanoparticles platform with enhanced limit of detection and sensitivity for quantification of Listeria monocytogenes in fresh vegetables. A new approach using a one-step metal and polymer simultaneous deposition was tested using two pH-sensitive polymers and a thiol-terminated DNA aptamer selective to surface protein internalin A of Listeria monocytogenes. The second example demonstrates development of pathogenic biosensors for chicken broth using antibodies and DNA aptamers selective to Salmonella Typhimurium adsorbed to aerosolized graphene interdigitated electrodes (IDEs). Devices were printed in polyimide tape and aerosolized graphene was thermally annealed. The integrity of the substrate was analyzed and the nano-biosensors were characterized for topography, pH-actuation, graphene content, and electroactivity using electron microscopy, cyclic voltammetry, and multiple spectroscopy techniques (Raman, Fourier-transform infrared, and electrochemical impedance). Electrochemical impedance spectroscopy was used to evaluate the signal and determine the limit of detection by evaluating the change in charge transfer resistance. The nano-biosensors have a detection limit of approximately 5 CFU.mL-1, and a response time of approximately 17 minutes (15 minutes incubation period). The pH-sensitive nanobrushes and graphene-based biosensors have a selectivity for the target pathogen of approximately 95% in vegetable and chicken broth, respectively. The designed biosensor platform showed great potential to replace current standard methods used by the food industry for rapid foodborne pathogenic bacteria detection.


This presentation is published as Daniela A. Oliveira, Loreen R. Stromberg, Cicero C. Pola, Kshama Parate, Nicholas D. Cavallaro, Jonathan C. Claussen, Eric S. McLamore, and Carmen L. Gomes "Biomimetic nanosensors for measuring pathogenic bacteria in complex food matrices (Conference Presentation)", Proc. SPIE 11020, Smart Biomedical and Physiological Sensor Technology XV, 110200J (16 August 2019). DOI: 10.1117/12.2519523. Posted with permission.

Copyright Owner

Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers (SPIE)



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