Plasmonic enhancement in lateral flow sensors for improved sensing of E. coli O157:H7

Wen Ren, Dexter R. Ballou, Ryan FitzGerald, Joseph Irudayaraj

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


We propose a plasmonic enhanced lateral flow sensor (pLFS) concept with an enhanced colorimetric signal by utilizing liposome encapsulating reagent to trigger the aggregation of gold nanoparticles (GNPs). Our signal enhancement strategy incorporates the simplicity of lateral flow immunoassays (LFIA) utilizing plasmonic enhancement. The conceptualized hybrid pLFS for onsite rapid detection of pathogens in low numbers in a user friendly format requiring simple steps is the first step in the translation of plasmonic enhancement sensing to a practical regime. The pLFS was carried out with a biotinylated liposome label ruptured to release branched polyethylenimine (BPEI) to trigger the aggregation of GNPs for colorimetric signal generation. BPEI has multiple amino groups and more positive charges in PBS buffer, therefore few of the BPEI groups could induce the aggregation of GNPs, resulting in an enhanced colorimetric signal to detect E. coli O157:H7. Compared with the reported conventional LFIA, the proposed pLFS demonstrated more than 1000-fold improvement in sensitivity. The pLFS could detect as low as 100 CFU/ml of E. coli O157:H7 in buffer and 600 CFU/ml E. coli O157:H7 in liquid food systems.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)324-331
Number of pages8
JournalBiosensors and Bioelectronics
StatePublished - Feb 1 2019


  • E. coli O157:H7
  • Gold nanoparticle aggregation, rapid detection
  • Lateral flow sensor
  • Liposome
  • Plasmonic enhancement

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Biophysics
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Electrochemistry

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