Development of a microsieve-based diagnostic system for a fast and simple detection of microorganisms.

The aim of this project is to develop an innovative automated procedure that allows simple and fast detection and quantification of human pathogenic microorganisms without the need for bacterial enrichments. The proof of concept will be shown for a set of human pathogenic microorganisms, i.e. Salmonella spp., Listeria spp., Campylobacter spp. and Legionella spp., taking strong emphasis on sample preparation from different matrices, i.e. water, chicken, meat and cheese. Herewith this innovation will contribute to the reduction of risk for human health.

The unique feature of the proposed procedure for microbial detection relies on filtration through a microsieve and the subsequent analyses using an innovative LED-based optical photonic detection device in an (semi)-automated manner. The diagnostic procedure will enable direct detection and accurate quantification of any viable and/or dead (specific) bacteria from a matrix without requiring any bacterial enrichment. Therefore sample preparation from different matrices is essential and will gain much attention in this project. Essentially the procedure is non-destructive, which will speed up the total analysis time while detection will not be interferred by substances as, for example, is observed in nucleic acid testing.

Microbial diagnostics will be improved significantly due to the lack of need for time-consuming and laborious techniques as (selective) bacterial enrichment or plating prior to analysis (in contrast to other currently used methods). Next to that, the complete procedure is fast, gives insight in the ratio viable / dead cells, allows specific target detection and is non-destructive, thus allowing post-detection analysis of the microsieve-trapped microorganisms for serotyping or molecular characterization.

Overall, intensive knowledge sharing and application development by this consortium might give rise to an increase of employment possibilities within each partner’s company. This project will contribute to strengthening the partners’ position as entrepreneur and leading SME that focuses on the development and application of innovative tools for microbiological diagnostics.

Finally, the impact on the European competitiveness in microbial diagnostics will be enforced by introduction of this new methodology of microbial analysis and will have high impact worldwide.