An embedded portable biosensor system for bacterial concentration detection
journal contributionposted on 26.02.2016, 16:52 authored by Marco GrossiMarco Grossi
Microbial screening is a primary concern for many products. Traditional techniques based on standard plate counts (SPC) are accurate, but time consuming. Furthermore, they require a laboratory environment and qualified personnel. The Impedance Technique (IT) looking for changes in the electrical characteristics of the Sample Under Test (SUT) induced by bacterial metabolism represents an interesting alternative to SPC since it is faster (3-12 hours vs 24-72 hours for SPC) and can be easily implemented in automatic form. With this approach, the essential parameter is the time for bacteria concentration to reach a critical threshold value (about 107 cfu∙mL-1) capable of inducing significant variations in the SUT impedance, measured by applying a 100 mV peak to peak 200 Hz sinusoidal test signal at time intervals of 5 minutes. The results of this work show good correlation between data obtained with the SPC approach and with impedance measurements lasting only 3 hours, in the case of highly contaminated samples (106 cfu∙mL-1). Furthermore, this work introduces a portable system for impedance measurements composed of an incubation chamber containing the SUT, a thermoregulation board to control the target temperature and an impedance measurement board. The mix of cheap electronics and fast detection time provides a useful tool for microbial screening in industrial and commercial environments.