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Carbohydrate Ligands on Magnetic Nanoparticles for Centrifuge-Free Extraction of Pathogenic Contaminants in Pasteurized Milk

Matta, Leann Lerie, Alocilja, Evangelyn C.
Journal of food protection 2018 v.81 no.12 pp. 1941-1949
Bacillus cereus, Escherichia coli O157, Salmonella Enteritidis, antibodies, bacteria, bacterial contamination, carbohydrates, centrifugation, chronic exposure, detection limit, epitopes, food safety, food supply chain, laboratory techniques, ligands, liquids, magnetic materials, magnetism, monitoring, nanoparticles, pasteurized milk, pathogens, rapid methods, receptors, skim milk, vitamin D
Rapid detection of bacterial contamination in the food supply chain is critically important for food safety monitoring. Reliable extraction and concentration of bacteria from complex matrices is required to achieve high detection sensitivity, especially in situations of low contamination and infective dose. Carbohydrate ligands that attach to microbial cell–surface epitopes are promising economical and biocompatible substitutes for cell-targeting ligands and antibodies. Two different carbohydrate ligands immobilized onto magnetic nanoparticles (MNPs) were easily suspended in liquid food (milk) and allowed expedient extraction of microbes within minutes, without the need for centrifugation or loss in capture capacity. In this pilot study, 25-mL samples of undiluted milk were spiked with 5 mg of MNPs and artificially contaminated with bacteria at 3 to 5 log CFU/mL. MNPs and bacteria formed MNP-cell complexes, which were rapidly separated from the milk matrix with a simple magnet to allow supernatant removal. MNP-cell complexes were then concentrated by resuspension in 1 mL of fresh milk and plated per Bacteriological Analytical Manual procedures. Capture was carried out in vitamin D, 2% reduced fat, and fat-free milk spiked with Salmonella Enteritidis, Escherichia coli O157:H7, and Bacillus cereus for a combined total of 18 experiments (three replicates each). An additional eight experiments were conducted to investigate the effect of competitive bacteria on capture. All experiments were carried out over several months to account for environmental variations. Capture efficiency, on a log basis, for all combinations of milk and bacteria was 73 to 90%. Long-term exposure of the MNPs to milk did not markedly affect capture efficiency. These carbohydrate-functionalized MNPs have potential as nonspecific receptors for rapid extraction of bacteria from complex liquids, opening the door to discovery of biocompatible ligands that can reliably target pathogens in our food.