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Rapid Concentration and Detection of Bacteria in Milk Using a Microfluidic Surface Acoustic Wave Activated Nanosieve

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posted on 2024-05-16, 18:11 authored by Bryan Ang, Thanavit Jirapanjawat, Khai Ping Tay, Dariush Ashtiani, Chris Greening, Kellie L. Tuck, Adrian Neild, Victor J. Cadarso
Rapid detection of microbes is a key feature for monitoring food quality. Unfortunately, current detection systems rely on labor-intensive and time-consuming lab-based processes that are not suitable for point-of-interest applications and typically require several days before results are available. Here, we demonstrate a microfluidic system capable of rapidly concentrating, fluorescent staining, and detecting bacteria in unprocessed complex biological media such as milk. This concentration is done using a surface acoustic wave-driven microfluidic device which operates based on the Bjerknes force, a force generated on one particle by another in its close proximity. We exploit this effect by exciting a tightly packed bed of 50 μm polystyrene microparticles temporarily with surface acoustic waves within a microfluidic device to capture and release bacterial cells on demand. The bacterial cells are fluorescently stained during capture and then detected using fluorescence microscopy upon release. This device offers a high capturing efficiency (>80%) and a 34 Colony Forming Units (CFU)/mL limit of detection, which is 1 order of magnitude below that of plate counting at 30 CFU per standard 100 μL plate (or 300 CFU/mL). This can be attained in just 1 h of processing at 10 μL/min. With this system, we demonstrate that bacterial detection from extremely low concentration samples down to the order of ∼10 CFU/mL is possible without requiring any additional external pre- or postprocessing.

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