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A cell-based bioelectric biosensor for Salmonella spp. detection in food
* 1, 2 , 1, 2 , 2 , 2 , 2 , 2 , 2 , 2
1  Department of Life Sciences, School of Sciences, European University of Cyprus, 6 Diogenous Str., Egkomi 2404, Nicosia
2  EMBIO Diagnostics Ltd, Athalassas Avenue 8b, Strovolos, 2018 Nicosia, Cyprus
Academic Editor: Sara Tombelli


The prevalence of foodborne diseases has significantly increased in the last decades, causing numerous hospitalizations and deaths, as well as money loss in the agri-food sector and food supply chain worldwide. Several factors such as increased population density, rapid urbanization, and globalization have contributed to this increase. The standard analyses currently used for bacteria detection have significant limitations with the most important being their long procedural time that can be crucial for foodborne outbreaks. Hence, there is an imperative need for new, accurate techniques that can provide fast results for pathogens presence to withdraw the contaminated products from the markets before their distribution to consumers, thus preventing pathogen dispersal and human infection. In this study, we developed a biosensor system able to perform robust and accurate detection of Salmonella spp. in meat products after a 3-minute analysis. To achieve this, we used a portable device developed by EMBIO Diagnostics called B.EL.D (Bio Electric Diagnostics) and a cell-based biosensor technology (BERA). Biosensors were created using monoclonal anti-Salmonella spp. mouse antibodies and tests were conducted in cured meat and raw meat samples, while five different protocols with different incubation periods were evaluated for their validity. Results indicated that the new method could detect the pathogen within 24 hours after a 3-minute analysis and discriminate samples with and without Salmonella with high accuracy (86.1%). The method’s sensitivity, specificity, and positive and negative predictive values ranged from 80 to 90.5%, while the limit of detection was determined to be as low as 10 CFU g-1 in all food substrates.

Keywords: Salmonella; cell-based biosensor; bioelectric recognition assay; membrane-engineering; food; meat; meat products