||Last Updated: Apr 20, 2011 - 9:38:09 AM
A microscopic biological sensor that detects Salmonella bacteria in lab
tests has been developed by an Agricultural Research Service (ARS)
scientist and university colleagues. The sensor could be adapted to
detect other foodborne pathogens as well.
The sensor is part of an evolving science known as nanotechnology--the
study and manipulation of materials on a molecular or even atomic
level, measured in billionths of a meter, which is about 10 to100 times
thinner than a human hair.
There are examples of biosensors in nature. Insects detect tiny amounts
of sex pheromones in the environment and use them as a beacon to find
mates. And fish use natural biosensors to detect barely perceptible
vibrations in the surrounding water.
ARS engineer Bosoon Park at the Quality and Safety Assessment Research
Unit in Athens, Ga., and cooperators at the University of Georgia used
nanotechnology to develop the biosensor. The detection method may have
great potential for food safety and security, according to Park.
The biosensors that Park and his university colleagues developed
include fluorescent organic dye particles attached to Salmonella
antibodies. The antibodies hook onto Salmonella bacteria and the dye
lights up like a beacon, making the bacteria easier to see.
People who eat Salmonella-infected food products can get salmonellosis,
a disease characterized by nausea, vomiting, severe diarrhea, and
For his research, Park recently received the prestigious first place
Innovation Nano Research Award at the Sixth International Nanotech
Symposium and Exhibition, in Ilsan, Korea.
ARS is a scientific research agency in the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
ARS News Service
Agricultural Research Service, USDA
Sharon Durham, (301) 504-1611, [email protected]
December 15, 2008
--View this report online, plus photos and related stories, at www.ars.usda.gov/is/pr
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