Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Developing Nanotechnology To Test Food Quality

Date:
July 26, 2007
Source:
Microbiology Today
Summary:
Researchers have created two tiny instruments capable of detecting a range of contaminants, from molecules to whole bacteria, in food and water, according to an article in the August issue of Microbiology Today. Cantilevers are miniature diving boards that measure 200 micrometers long and 40 micrometers wide, about half the width of a human hair. Two cantilevers are placed in a sensor and liquid is passed through them. When the molecule or microbe that is being looked for binds to its surface, the board bends and its electrical resistance is altered. Detection is achieved by measuring the change in resistance.

Researchers have created two tiny instruments capable of detecting a range of contaminants, from molecules to whole bacteria, in food and water, according to an article in the August issue of Microbiology Today.

Cantilevers are miniature diving boards that measure 200 micrometers long and 40 micrometers wide, about half the width of a human hair. Two cantilevers are placed in a sensor and liquid is passed through them. When the molecule or microbe that is being looked for binds to its surface, the board bends and its electrical resistance is altered. Detection is achieved by measuring the change in resistance.

The device can be designed to search for specific things, for example, if the organism to be detected was E. coli, the cantilever could be coated in antibodies specific to E. coli cells. Many different molecules or organisms can also be recognized simultaneously. “The sensor can be expanded to contain several cantilevers, each coated with a specific detector molecule” says Professor Anja Boisen.

Lid devices also have a flexible board or ‘lid’ but it is placed on top of a tiny box that contains marker molecules, which produce colour visible to the naked eye. An organism, for example, binds to the lid, which then opens and releases the colour, indicating the presence of the organism. This can also be achieved by coating the board with ‘food’ for bacteria instead of binding molecules, so deflection occurs when the coating is removed. It can therefore be used to measure bacterial activity. The device is contained in a 1cm plastic box so, like the cantilever, it is portable.

Cantilevers and lid devices may soon be available to consumers. “We use processes where the cantilevers are fabricated by etching a thin silicon wafer three-dimensionally” says Professor Anja Boisen. “The procedure is suitable for mass production and it might be possible to make sensors so cheaply that they can be disposable.”

The applications for this new technology are abundant. The sensors can detect DNA, so may be used to test for human genetic diseases. They are also extremely sensitive and can measure deflections of just 1 nanometre, so are able to detect the presence of very small molecules. Conversely, whole bacteria and even parts of bacteria can be identified, making the sensors ideal for testing the quality of water and food samples.

“The lid device could be included in food packaging since it requires no external energy and is cheap to make. When a food is infected, the control unit in the plastic wrapping becomes coloured. Thus a simple colour indicator can show the quality of the food.”


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Microbiology Today. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Microbiology Today. "Developing Nanotechnology To Test Food Quality." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 26 July 2007. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/07/070722210647.htm>.
Microbiology Today. (2007, July 26). Developing Nanotechnology To Test Food Quality. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 2, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/07/070722210647.htm
Microbiology Today. "Developing Nanotechnology To Test Food Quality." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/07/070722210647.htm (accessed September 2, 2014).

Share This




More Plants & Animals News

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

U.N. Says Ebola Travel Restrictions Will Cause Food Shortage

U.N. Says Ebola Travel Restrictions Will Cause Food Shortage

Newsy (Sep. 2, 2014) — The U.N. says the problem is two-fold — quarantine zones and travel restrictions are limiting the movement of both people and food. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Sharks Off the Menu and on the Tourist Trail in Palau

Sharks Off the Menu and on the Tourist Trail in Palau

AFP (Sep. 2, 2014) — Tourists in Palau clamour to dive with sharks thanks to a pioneering conservation initiative -- as the island nation plans to completely ban commercial fishing in its vast ocean territory. 01:15 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
We've Got Mites Living In Our Faces And So Do You

We've Got Mites Living In Our Faces And So Do You

Newsy (Aug. 30, 2014) — A new study suggests 100 percent of adult humans (those over 18 years of age) have Demodex mites living in their faces. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Coffee Then Napping: The (New) Key To Alertness

Coffee Then Napping: The (New) Key To Alertness

Newsy (Aug. 30, 2014) — Researchers say having a cup of coffee then taking a nap is more effective than a nap or coffee alone. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins