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Colorimetric and Electrochemical Bacteria Detection Using Printed Paper- and Transparency-Based Analytic Devices

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journal contribution
posted on 22.02.2017, 00:00 by Jaclyn A. Adkins, Katherine Boehle, Colin Friend, Briana Chamberlain, Bledar Bisha, Charles S. Henry
The development of transparency-based electrochemical and paper-based colorimetric analytic detection platforms is presented as complementary methods for food and waterborne bacteria detection from a single assay. Escherichia coli and Enterococcus species, both indicators of fecal contamination, were detected using substrates specific to enzymes produced by each species. β-galactosidase (β-gal) and β-glucuronidase (β-glucur) are both produced by E. coli, while β-glucosidase (β-gluco) is produced by Enterococcus spp. Substrates used produced either p-nitrophenol (PNP), o-nitrophenol (ONP), or p-aminophenol (PAP) as products. Electrochemical detection using stencil-printed carbon electrodes (SPCEs) was found to provide optimal performance on inexpensive and disposable transparency film platforms. Using SPCEs, detection limits for electrochemically active substrates, PNP, ONP, and PAP were determined to be 1.1, 2.8, and 0.5 μM, respectively. A colorimetric paper-based well plate system was developed from a simple cardboard box and smart phone for the detection of PNP and ONP. Colorimetric detection limits were determined to be 81 μM and 119 μM for ONP and PNP respectively. While colorimetric detection methods gave higher detection limits than electrochemical detection, both methods provided similar times to positive bacteria detection. Low concentrations (101 CFU/mL) of pathogenic and nonpathogenic E. coli isolates and (100 CFU/mL) E. faecalis and E. faecium strains were detected within 4 and 8 h of pre-enrichment. Alfalfa sprout and lagoon water samples served as model food and water samples, and while water samples did not test positive, sprout samples did test positive within 4 h of pre-enrichment. Positive detection of inoculated (2.3 × 102 and 3.1 × 101 CFU/mL or g of E. coli and E. faecium, respectively) sprout and water samples tested positive within 4 and 12 h of pre-enrichment, respectively.