A newly published study by a team of researchers from the USA, UK and Thailand has developed a potentially rapid new detection method for pathogenic bacteria using a biosensor made from an array of microcantilevers.
The “nanomechanical cantilevers” made from silicon are fixed at one end and have phage-derived peptides attached to them. These peptides can bind specifically to the cells of pathogenic bacteria, such as Salmonella or Listeria. When binding occurs, the cantilever deflects rather like a diving board and creates a detectable signal.
The researchers tested a number of peptides specific to Salmonella and found one that was more specific than commercially available antibodies and also could differentiate between eight different Salmonella serovars. They suggest that their findings could form the basis of a new method to detect foodborne pathogens much more rapidly than traditional culture methods.
The findings are published in the journal Analytical Chemistry and an abstract can be found here.