A special device for the smartphone will find any bacteria in the food

University of Massachusetts Amherst

How to evaluate the purchased products for contamination with harmful bacteria? Already in the near future for this will be an inexpensive device for a smartphone, which will give its ability to detect these bacteria. The gadget is developed by scientists from Amherst University in Massachusetts.

The research team is headed by Dr. Lili Hee, a food specialist. Scientists have already developed a chip containing 3-MBPA acid molecules, which, like a magnet, attract bacteria to themselves.

The chip is immersed in the product under investigation, after which it is washed with a concentrated buffer liquid, which flushes the sugar, fats and proteins contained in the product, leaving all the bacteria in place.

Then the chip is placed in a simple light microscope, designed to work with smartphones. A special application counts the number of bacteria on the chip. The device is very sensitive and will be able to detect even a small number of bacterial cells, for example, 100 units per 1 milliliter of solution.

This result has already been confirmed in the course of a two-hour experiment. For comparison, the standard method of research takes 2 days. There are other methods for rapid detection of bacteria, but they are not as sensitive and reliable as this chip.

Scientists hope that the technology developed by them will become available not only for nutrition workers, but also for professionals working in disaster areas, who need to be convinced of the safety of food and water.

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