[printer friendly version]


"Nano-biosensors for measuring foodborne pathogens - a biomimetic approach"

Dr. Carmen L. Gomes
Texas A&M University


The global supply of abundant and safe food is pressured by increased demand from a growing population, by limitations in supply due to increases in urbanization and biofuel production, and by climate change. Furthermore, over 30% of food is currently wasted, due to poor quality, spoilage, and contamination. Moreover, additional threats to our food supply include mislabeled or misbranded food entering the supply chain. To make matters worse, foodborne pathogens have further threatened human health and food recalls are increasingly common and economically costly. Thus, rapid and inexpensive sensor technologies are sorely needed to ensure that food products are not wasted and remain safe at the nexus of global food security and safety across the food supply chain. The two major challenges for these biosensors are selective capture of the target pathogen, and determination of pathogen viability without requiring reagents and complex equipment. The current standard pathogen sensing technologies (e.g., ELISA and PCR) require expensive laboratory equipment, highly trained personnel, and are time consuming tests (24 to 72 h). Hence, current pathogen sensing technologies are not suited for rapid on-site detection. This seminar will discuss emerging biomimetic biosensor technologies for creating low cost, disposable biosensors for rapid detection of pathogens in food products. The first part of the presentation will focus on biomimetic strategies for creating polymers structured with small nanoscale brushes that respond to stimuli (e.g., pH and temperature) and help selectively capture pathogens based on a natural symbiotic system – an association between the Hawaiian bobtail squid and the marine bacteria Vibrio fischeri. The second part will focus on a new strategy for viability determination and for concentrating cells at the sensor surface using a combination of dielectrophoresis and impedance spectroscopy analysis. As nanotechnology makes its way into food and agriculture, a multidisciplinary approach is absolutely critical for the development of sensing systems that can be applied throughout the food supply chain to ensure food security and safety for current and future generations.

Tuesday, May 2, 2017
IQSE Seminar Room , 12:00 noon
MPHY 578

Institute for Quantum Science and Engineering
Texas A&M University

Lunch (sandwich) will to be served 15 minutes prior start time