Separation and detection of multiple pathogens in a food matrix by magnetic SERS nanoprobes

Yuling Wang, Sandeep Ravindranath, Joseph Irudayaraj

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


A rapid and sensitive method was developed here for separation and detection of multiple pathogens in food matrix by magnetic surface-enhanced Raman scattering (SERS) nanoprobes. Silica-coated magnetic probes (MNPs@SiO 2) of ∼100 nm in diameter were first prepared via the reverse microemulsion method using cetyltrimethylammonium bromide as a surfactant and tetraethyl orthosilicate as the silica precursor. The as-prepared MNPs@SiO 2 were functionalized with specific pathogen antibodies to first capture threat agents directly from a food matrix followed by detection using an optical approach enabled by SERS. In this scheme, pathogens were first immuno-magnetically captured with MNPs@SiO2, and pathogen-specific SERS probes (gold nanoparticles integrated with a Raman reporter) were functionalized with corresponding antibodies to allow the formation of a sandwich assay to complete the sensor module for the detection of multiple pathogens in selected food matrices, just changing the kinds of Raman reporters on SERS probes. Here, up to two key pathogens, Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium and Staphylococcus aureus, were selected as a model to illustrate the probability of this scheme for multiple pathogens detection. The lowest cell concentration detected in spinach solution was 103 CFU/mL. A blind test conducted in peanut butter validated the limit of detection as 10 3 CFU/mL with high specificity, demonstrating the potential of this approach in complex matrices. [Figure not available: see fulltext.]

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1271-1278
Number of pages8
JournalAnalytical and bioanalytical chemistry
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jan 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • Food matrix
  • Multiplex pathogen detection
  • Silica-coated magnetic nanoparticles
  • Surface-enhanced Raman scattering

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Analytical Chemistry
  • Biochemistry


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