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Rapid, Sensitive, and Simultaneous Detection of Three Foodborne Pathogens Using Magnetic Nanobead–Based Immunoseparation and Quantum Dot–Based Multiplex Immunoassay

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Losses caused by foodborne diseases are enormous in terms of human life, illness, medical costs, and food product recalls. Rapid detection of multiple bacterial pathogens in foods is extremely important to ensure food safety. The objective of this research was to develop a multiplex immunoassay by integrating magnetic nanobeads (MNBs) for immunoseparation with quantum dots (QDs) as fluorescent labels for rapid, sensitive, and simultaneous detection of three major pathogenic bacteria, Salmonella Typhimurium, Escherichia coli O157:H7, and Listeria monocytogenes, in food products. In this research, both streptavidin-conjugated MNBs (30- and 150-nm diameter) and QDs (530-, 580-, and 620-nm emission wavelength) were separately coated with biotinylated anti-Salmonella, anti–E. coli, and anti-Listeria antibodies. The immuno-MNBs were mixed with a food sample to capture the three target bacteria. After being magnetically separated from the sample, the MNB-cell conjugates were mixed with the immuno-QDs to form the MNB-cell-QD complexes, and unattached QDs were removed. The fluorescence intensity of the MNB-cell-QD complexes was measured at wavelengths of 530, 580, and 620 nm to determine the populations of Salmonella Typhimurium, E. coli O157:H7, and L. monocytogenes, respectively. This multiplex immunoassay simultaneously detected Salmonella Typhimurium, E. coli O157:H7, and L. monocytogenes at levels as low as 20 to 50 CFU/ml in food samples in less than 2 h without enrichment. The change in fluorescence intensity was linearly correlated (R 2 > 0.96) with the logarithmic value of bacterial level in the range of 10 to 103 CFU/ml. More than 85% of the three target pathogens could be simultaneously separated from food samples. The multiplex immunoassay could be expanded to detect more target pathogens, depending on the availability of specific antibodies and QDs with different emission wavelengths.

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: Department of Poultry Science, University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, Arkansas 72701; 3Ocean Nanotech, LLC, Springdale, Arkansas 72764, USA 2: Department of Biological & Agricultural Engineering, University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, Arkansas 72701, USA 3: Ocean Nanotech, LLC, Springdale, Arkansas 72764, USA

Publication date: December 1, 2011

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    The Journal of Food Protection (JFP) is a refereed monthly publication. Each issue contains scientific research and authoritative review articles reporting on a variety of topics in food science pertaining to food safety and quality. The Journal is internationally recognized as the leading publication in the field of food microbiology with a readership exceeding 11,000 scientists from 70 countries. The Journal of Food Protection is indexed in Index Medicus, Current Contents, BIOSIS, PubMed, Medline, and many others.

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