Skip to main content

Lab-on-a-chip microfluidic device based on plasmonic driven thermal nanobiosensing for rapid detection of Salmonella in chicken meat.

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - HEATSENS_S (Lab-on-a-chip microfluidic device based on plasmonic driven thermal nanobiosensing for rapid detection of Salmonella in chicken meat.)

Reporting period: 2016-09-01 to 2017-05-31

NANOIMMUNOTECH (NIT) has an exclusive ultrasensitive biosensor nanotechnology (called HEATSENS) which represents a relevant and disruptive discovery in the field of biosensors. During the project, NIT is working into the integration of this technology in a device to detect Salmonella in chicken meat within one working day.

Salmonella is a bacterium that can cause an illness called salmonellosis in humans. In the European Union, over 100,000 human cases are reported each year. European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) estimated that the cost of human salmonellosis could be EUR 3 billion a year.

To protect consumers from Salmonella, the EU has adopted a regulation that agri-food companies must comply. European Regulation is the most restrictive, being the threshold for these controls extremely low: meat is considered to be contaminated if there is one colony-forming unit (CFU) in 25 mg of meat, and the total absence of bacteria must be guaranteed for the rest of samples, tools and surfaces in contact with the animals.

Therefore, response time to get the result is very relevant for the producers (HEATSENS’s customer): results should arrive on time to treat the animals, and mainly they should arrive before the product’s release. This need will be solved by HEATSENS_S, being the only method to detect salmonella in chicken meat within the same working day.

As already mentioned, NIT is working to apply HEATSENS technology in the agri-food sector, developing the final HEATSENS_S Product, a biosensor based on HEATSENS technology which solves a need in one specific market with great growth potential: the detection of Salmonella in chicken meat in a faster way than current market solutions, giving results within the same working day.
During this period the tasks 1.1. 1.2. and 1.3 included in the Work package 1 have been successfully accomplished.
Firstly, all the different requirement and technical specifications for the industrial design were transferred to Microliquid which made different proposals for the different components of the device. Simultaneously, NIT has carried out the scale-up and optimization of the nanoparticles´production. Gold nanoprisms synthesis besides to their functionalization with quality control were optimized and scaled-up from a lab-scale to a large-scale production ensuring the amount needed for the supply and performance of the tests in the different devices. The third key task, the chip layout besides to its chemical functionalization have been also optimized allowing its scale-up. The functionalization protocol of the microfluidic chip, was established for the linear chip layout. All the relevant parameters of the immunoassay involved in the performance of the microfluidic chip were optimized. The use of the linear chip has permitted the reduction of the amount of reagents used for the surface functionalization of 2.2 ± 0.5mm2 for a single area inside the each channel. As consequence, also the total cost of the fabrication and functionalization of the microfluidic chip have been reduced. The automatically dispense of the reagents for functionalised mass production of chips has been also addressed by using a spotter device.
In parallel to these tasks, in task 1.4 all principal components and features to carry out the production of the device according the compliance of all specifications required by NIT technical Team is being developed by Microliquid. All these different parts of device from microfluidic chips to platform with the fluidics, mechanics, optics, automation and electronics/SW modules required to perform the diagnostic test are being assembled for the production of the prototypes within the tasks 1.5 and 1.6.
HEATSENS_S Product is composed of consumables (chips to analyse Salmonella – Test_S) and a device that reads them (HEATSENS device). Companies will acquire HEATSENS device (probably under financial leases) and will buy as many consumables as they need for their tests (Test_S).
Thanks to ultrasensitive HEATSENS technology, final users will get the results of Salmonella within one working day, for an affordable cost per test. That’s is because HEATSENS_S can detect Salmonella at a much lower concentration in the sample, reducing the pre-treatment stage time. The time of analysis of Salmonella will be 30-40 min after loading the Salmonella detection test (Test_S) on the Heatsens device.
Retailers demand producers to use highly sensitive methods to detect Salmonella, because it will bring benefits to final chicken consumers, who are anyone of us, our children or family. The more sensitive the method is, the lower the risk of being infected by Salmonella. This issue is crucial for retail stores, which are the point of sale, namely the intermediary between integrated companies and the final customer (for example, supermarkets). For them, sensitivity means money: sensitivity allows quick detection, and that means having the product more time saleable in the outlet.
NIT is the sole exploiter of HEATSENS technology. HEATSENS development and commercialisation is the core business of the Company. HEATSENS_S exploitation will be itself profitable for the Company. However, it is only the beginning.
Once that the HEATSENS device is ready to market, it will enable the detection of different analytes by changing the consumables. Furthermore, the development of different consumables (Tests) will be carried out within a short period of time, estimated between 6-12 months, mainly depending on the type of analyte (microorganisms, proteins, oligonucleotides, etc.) and the matrix (meat, chocolate, milk, serum, blood, etc.) in which it is found.
The product is expected to be launched in 2018 and the Sales and Marketing team are working on identifying the most adequate strategy of launch, taking into account the technical progress. At the same time, the financial team is working on the final strategy according the expected forecasts of the Company numbers.