Detection of Listeria by nanoparticle-based technology coupled with a novel fluorescence device

Listeria monocytogenes is a common food-borne pathogen that is the causative agent of listeriosis, a severe and potentially fatal condition. Current methods for detection of L. monocytogenes in food samples require multiple days due to lengthy amplification steps to aid in microbe detection. Due to the recent emergence of nanoparticle technology, however, new options are emerging for removing and concentrating microbes from complex samples and providing extremely sensitive detection. This project aims to make use of nanoparticle technology in combination with a customized fluorescence reader, to provide a rapid (<8 hours), cost-effective method to detect L. monocytogenes that can be applied in a routine manner to samples from food sources. Specifically, L. monocytogenes will be targeted with both magnetic nanoparticles, to separate and concentrate them from food samples, as well as fluorescent nanoparticles for sensitive detection of single L. monocytogenes with a fluorescence reader equipped with customized image analysis software. This novel assay and customized fluorescent reader will represent a significant advancement in L. monocytogenes detection for real world applications. 

Intern: 
Robert Brown
Faculty Supervisor: 
Dr. Shu Chen
Province: 
Ontario
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