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As the safety in the food supply becomes critical, the demand for a rapid, low-volume, and sensitive microbial detection device has dramatically increased. A biosensor based on an electrochemical sandwich immunoassay using polyaniline has been developed for detecting foodborne pathogens, such as Escherichia coli (E. coli) O157:H7. The biosensor is comprised of two types of proteins: capture protein and reporter protein. The capture protein is immobilized on a pad between two electrodes, while the reporter protein is attached to conductive polymers. After adding the sample, the target protein binds to the reporter protein and forms a sandwich complex with the capture protein. The conductive polymer that is attached to the reporter protein serves as a messenger, reporting the amount of target protein captured in the form of an electrical signal. The architecture of the biosensor utilizes a lateral flow format, which allows the liquid sample to move from one pad to another by capillary action. Experiments to evaluate the best construction materials, the optimal polyaniline and antibody concentrations, and the distance between electrodes are highlighted in this paper. Results show that the biosensor could detect approximately 7.8×101 colony forming unit per milliliter of E. coli O157:H7 in 10 min.
Date of Publication: Aug. 2003