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Sensors (Basel). 2013 Jun 26;13(7):8188-98. doi: 10.3390/s130708188.

Rapid detection of viable microorganisms based on a plate count technique using arrayed microelectrodes.

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Alberta Health Services, Calgary, AB T2N 2T9, Canada.


Development of a miniaturized biosensor system that can be used for rapid detection and counting of microorganisms in food or water samples is described. The developed microsystem employs a highly sensitive impedimetric array of biosensors to monitor the growth of bacterial colonies that are dispersed across an agar growth medium. To use the system, a sample containing the bacteria is cultured above the agar layer. Using a multiplexing network, the electrical properties of the medium at different locations are continuously measured, recorded, and compared against a baseline signal. Variations of signals from different biosensors are used to reveal the presence of bacteria in the sample, as well as the locations of bacterial colonies across the biochip. This technique forms the basis for a label-free bacterial detection for rapid analysis of food samples, reducing the detection time by at least a factor of four compared to the current required incubation times of 24 to 72 hours for plate count techniques. The developed microsystem has the potential for miniaturization to a stage where it could be deployed for rapid analysis of food samples at commercial scale at laboratories, food processing facilities, and retailers.

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