Rapid and Robust Detection Methods for Poison and Microbial Contamination

TitleRapid and Robust Detection Methods for Poison and Microbial Contamination, Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry 60, 6349 - 6358
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2012
AuthorsHoehl, Melanie M., Peter J. Lu, Peter A. Sims, and Alexander H. Slocum
Date Published06/2012

Real-time on-site monitoring of analytes is currently in high demand for food contamination, water, medicines, and ingestible household products that were never tested appropriately. Here we introduce chemical methods for the rapid quantification of a wide range of chemical and microbial contaminations using a simple instrument. Within the testing procedure, we used a multichannel, multisample, UV–vis spectrophotometer/fluorometer that employs two frequencies of light simultaneously to interrogate the sample. We present new enzyme- and dye-based methods to detect (di)ethylene glycol in consumables above 0.1 wt % without interference and alcohols above 1 ppb. Using DNA intercalating dyes, we can detect a range of pathogens (E. coli, Salmonella, V. Cholera, and a model for Malaria) in water, foods, and blood without background signal. We achieved universal scaling independent of pathogen size above 10^4 CFU/mL by taking advantage of the simultaneous measurement at multiple wavelengths. We can detect contaminants directly, without separation, purification, concentration, or incubation. Our chemistry is stable to ±1% for >3 weeks without refrigeration, and measurements require <5 min.

Short TitleJ. Agric. Food Chem.
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Peter J. Lu  |  Harvard University  |  Cambridge, MA 02138 USA |  plu_at_fas.harvard.edu