Summary of Awards to Date

Rapid detection of foodborne pathogenic bacteria by surface enhanced raman spectroscopy using Ag nanorod array substrates.

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Jan. 1, 2009 - Dec. 31, 2011

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Yao-Wen Huang, Ph.D.
University of Georgia


The potential risk for deliberate contamination of the environment, food and agricultural products has recently increased due to the global war on terrorism, making biosensing an important issue for several federal agencies. The current trend is to decentralize large stationary laboratory facilities such that tests can be performed anywhere and under field conditions. Consequently, the development of portable, rapid and sensitive biosensors with on-the-spot interpretation of results is gaining momentum. From a food safety point of view, real-time microbial detection and source identification are becoming increasingly important due to the growing consumer concerns over foodborne disease outbreaks and economic loss from the outbreaks. The conventional culture method recommended by the USDA for detection and identification of foodborne pathogens usually requires three general steps: enrichment, colony isolation, and confirmation. Other methods including polymerase chain reaction (PCR), antibody-based systems and mass spectrometry have been developed as a diagnostic tool to detect pathogens; however, these approaches have fundamental restrictions that limit the use outside of a laboratory. False negative/ false positive identification with PCR method1, the multi-steps, chemical reagents required for procedures for immunoassay, and the expensive, non-portable mass spectrometry, make these methods neither fast nor robust enough for field detection. The research directions for improvement of analytical methods obviously falls on 1) the reduction or elimination of the sample preparation procedure, 2) continual and routine analysis of large numbers of samples with minimum reagent usage and cost, 3) ease to operate under most conditions, and 4) short data accumulation time. An alternative approach that satisfies most of the above requirements is spectroscopic techniques that are specific, noninvasive, nondestructive, and can be rapidly performed. Through the results of this proposal, we expect to achieve the detection of foodborne bacteria on food quickly and accurately with nanorod-based SERS techniques