ISU researchers have developed new molecules with an accompanying method to preconcentrate bacteria for rapid detection for food safety testing.The detection of viable bacteria in food, environmental, or clinical samples is limited by time-consuming enrichment procedures (e.g., overnight cultures) that are often mandatory for the analysis of extremely small quantities of microorganisms. Iowa State University researchers have developed new molecules to act as magnetic ionic liquids (MILs) and an method of use thereof to isolate, extract, and concentrate bacteria in an efficient manner for rapid testing purposes. These tunable MILs present unique physiochemical properties, resulting in materials that are responsive to external magnetic fields. Using this magnetism allows for easy separation of the MILs and extracted material from non-magnetic media. ISU inventors have demonstrated the ability of their specially designed MILs to be able to extract bacteria with high specificity. After a simple separation and culturing in broth, quantifiable colonization of recovered bacteria begins within two hours. This enrichment approach can be coupled with PCR amplification to further increase sample throughput. Regardless of downstream detection methods, MIL-based preconcentration of bacteria constitutes an enrichment strategy that allows for significantly faster detection of relevant bacteria for the food safety testing industry.
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