CORDIS - EU research results

New generation of low-cost Lateral Flow Assays (LFAs) coupled with paper-based electrical gas sensors: An application study for the rapid determination of Salmonella in food

Project description

A rapid test for Salmonella detection

Salmonella is a pathogenic bacterium responsible for food-related illness. Conventionally, Salmonella detection can take up to five days through a laborious lab-based procedure. NELLAFLOW is an EU-funded project that addresses a major issue in the food industry associated with Salmonella infection. Researchers propose to develop a lateral flow assay for the fast diagnosis of Salmonella at the point of need. To address the quantitation limitations of existing assays, they will incorporate a novel detector that allows Salmonella quantitation suitable for on-site monitoring. Importantly, the NELLAFLOW test is cost-effective, stable at room temperature and can produce accurate and fast results.


Over 420,000 people die each year due to contaminated foodstuffs, with Salmonella identified as one of the key global causes. Yet conventional methods for the determination of Salmonella in food require several enrichment and subculture steps performed by trained staff at lab-based facilities, taking up to 5 days to obtain a result.

Lateral Flow Assays (LFAs) have emerged as a powerful alternative method for Salmonella testing because they are rapid, simple-to-use and amenable for Point-of-Need (PoN). However, current LFAs available in the market only provide binary (yes/no) or semiquantitative responses, lacking the rapidness and sensitivity required for food monitoring due to the limitations of the colorimetric transduction.

By the integration of paper-based electrical gas sensors (PEGS) as detectors into Lateral Flow Assays, NELLAFLOW will address the challenge of quantitative determination of Salmonella in food without the requirement of long enrichment steps. PEGS have already proven to be highly sensitive towards water-soluble gases determination. They exploit the intrinsic hygroscopic characteristics of cellulose paper and the changes in its ionic conductance in the presence of water-soluble gases. The incorporation of aptamers as biological recognition elements in the PEGS-LFA platform will improve the implementation of the prototype for on-site monitoring as they are low-cost, highly specific, and stable at room temperature. Through a multidisciplinary approach (biomolecular engineering, analytical chemistry, printed electronics, microbiology) NELLAFLOW will tackle a problem in the food industry with an innovative versatile technology that can be easily transferred to other application fields.

By combining academic and non-academic training, NELLAFLOW will broaden the Fellow expertise through new technical and management skills that will complement her previous experience while delivering high impact results and transfer of knowledge.


Net EU contribution
€ 319 400,64
United Kingdom

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London Inner London — West Westminster
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
Total cost
€ 319 400,64