Sponsoring Institution
National Institute of Food and Agriculture
Project Status
Funding Source
Reporting Frequency
Accession No.
Grant No.
Project No.
Proposal No.
Multistate No.
Program Code
Project Start Date
Jul 1, 2015
Project End Date
Jun 30, 2017
Grant Year
Project Director
Li, YA.
Recipient Organization
Performing Department
Design & Merchandising
Non Technical Summary
Foodborne illness producing microorganisms cause millions of infections each year and are the cause of substantial economic losses for industry and consumers (Rohde et al., 2015). The Center for Disease Control (CDC) estimates that roughly 1 in 6 Americans (approx. 48 million people) are sickened each year by foodborne illness. The food industry places an extremely high priority on the advances in the identification of foodborne diseases and contaminants. Effective strategies for preventing the spread of foodborne disease have been developed and promoted. Food safety experts and local health departments constantly promote strategies such as prevention of cross-contamination of work surfaces and effective sanitizing practices. However, most of these strategies do not have a built-in control function that allows the food service worker to see if there strategies have been effective. For example, the food service worker may follow the suggested actions for preventing the spread of foodborne diseases causing microorganisms, but there are few cost effective on-site tests to determine if these prevention activities have been effective. Sensor technology is recognized as a novel solution that will ultimately lead to a system that monitors food products from production to consumption, thereby eliminating or significantly reducing the threat of foodborne bacteria, pathogens, and toxins reaching dinner tables and restaurants. The current practices to detect bacteria such as E. coli are laboratory-based methods, e.g cell culturing, which are not at all real-time and thus unavailable for early monitoring of bacterial contamination in food processing. Recently, lab-on-a-chip biosensors have been seen to possibly provide the next-generation online detection system for food safety by integrating several laboratory functions into one small portable platform, typically only millimeters or centimeters in size. However, the limitations of such small-scale biosensors remain to be resolved, including the pre-treatment of a food sample, full integration into a battery-powered system, and not-particularly-high sensitivity."Smart textiles", or fabrics that can sense and/or react to external stimuli, is an emerging field, which, until recently, has focused on integrating electronics into fibers and fabrics. Nanotechnology offers great potential to introduce responsive nanomaterials that can be manipulated into fibers and fabrics at the nanoscale, therefore offering built-in sensing and monitoring functionality. The development of nano-enabled "smart textiles" for wound healing, drug delivery, tissue regeneration, sensing, and diagnostics is changing the face of the medical industry and providing healthcare providers with tools and technology to improve health care in dramatic ways. Similarly, Innovative approaches for improving food safety through nano-enabled biosensors has seen a slow emergency of "smart textiles", such as hygiene non-woven wipes that have the additional degree of built-in values. Many of these current smart fibrous material-based hygiene wipes, used in food processing, have focused on the anti-microbial cleaning and hygiene purposes, with very few commercially-available products that can provide early indicative signals, particularly visual signals, of foodborne bacterial and pathogen infection and contamination. Therefore, the significant practical impacts on food safety, combined with the high medical expenses caused by foodborne diseases, has created a critical need to develop smart nanofiber-based biosensors that would provide food-processing personnel with an early and accurate foodborne infection diagnosis, allowing for time- and cost-efficient prevention and improved food safety outcomes. Our goal in this proposed project is to design and test effective fabrication strategies to create a novel nanofiber-based biosensor with high selectivity and high sensitivity for detecting foodborne bacterial infection in food processing. Successful completion of the proposed research can be expected to provide new opportunities to utilize responsive nanofiber-based sensors for time- and cost-effective on-site monitoring of foodborne bacterial contamination and diseases.
Animal Health Component
Research Effort Categories

Knowledge Area (KA)Subject of Investigation (SOI)Field of Science (FOS)Percent
Goals / Objectives
The key objective of this proposed work is to establish the proof of principle of a kitchen hygiene wipe capable of detecting foodborne Escherichia coli (E. coli) infection, signaling the bacterial infection via a colorimetric change in the wipe; and evaluate its effectiveness in the kitchen hygiene practice. The wipe is made from a nonwoven, highly porous polymer nanofiber matrix. Biosensing occurs via polydiacetylene (PDA)-based synthetic vesicles decorating the nanofiber surfaces, which include a receptor molecule selective for E. coli. These synthetic vesicles experience a blue-to-red color change in the response to binding of the target compound, as shown in Figure 1. This key objective will be accomplished via the following specific aims: 1. Develop and characterize an electrospun nonwoven, highly porous polymer nanofiber matrix containing a surface decoration of PDA synthetic vesicles that contain a glycolipid-based biological receptor molecule capable of absorbing E. coli.2. Integrate the electrospun nanofiber-vesicle matrix into a hygiene wipe capable of detecting E. coli.3. Assess usability and efficacy of the microbial-sensing wipe in real-time monitoring of foodborne bacterial infection.
Project Methods
Methodology: The following methodology will be taken to accomplish the specific aims:Specific Aim 1: Develop and characterize electrospun nanofiber-based biosensors containing a surface decoration of PDA synthetic vesicles capable of adsorbing E. coli.Task 1.1 Vesicle Fabrication and Evaluation: Initial efforts will focus on the identification and incorporation of the appropriate glycolipid receptor molecule that will bind to E. coli, according to methodologies well described in the literature (Pires et al., 2011). (de Oliviera et al., 2013). (Su, Li, Jiang, & Cao, 2005). The bioactivity and sensitivity of these vesicles will then be evaluated via UV-vis spectroscopy. The selectivity will be evaluated by combining the vesicles with other bacterial species common to the skin flora. The effect of solution pH and temperature on the sensitivity and selectivity of the sensor will also be evaluated.Task 1.2 Fabrication and Characterization of Electrospun Nanofiber-Vesicle Matrix: Electrospinning will be used to both fabricate the fibers and direct the positioning of the vesicles to the surface of the fibers. A variety of electrospinning approaches will be investigated, including coaxial electrospinning and emulsion electrospinning. In addition, various biocompatible polymers will be explored to serve as the supporting nanofiber matrix, including, but not limited to, polycaprolactone, cellulose acetate, and polylactic acid. These nanofiber/PDA vesicle constructs will be evaluated by SEM to characterize the vesicle/matrix morphology, and by AFM, to characterize the binding interaction between the vesicles and the fiber surface.Task 1.3: Evaluation of Selectivity and Sensitivity of Electrspun Nanofiber-Vesicle Matrix for Detecting E. coli: Sensitivity will be evaluated by combining, stepwise, aqueous solutions of E. coli, and measuring the resulting colorimetric response. The effect of pH and temperature will also be evaluated. Sensitivity of the sensor constructs will be compared to that of the unincorporated vesicles, to explore any dampening effects incurred by incorporation into the matrix. The selectivity of the sensors will be evaluated by exposing the sensors to bacteria that are not indicative of foodborne bacterial infection. The effect of PDA vesicle colorimetric response to binding, if any, will be measured. Selectivity of the sensor constructs will also be compared to that of the unincorporated vesicles.Specific Aim 2: Integrate electrospun nanofiber-vesicle matrix into smart hygiene wipes capable of detecting E. coli.Task 2.1 Fabrication of Smart Wipes: Effective nanofiber/PDA matrices capable of detecting E. coli will be electrospun onto a standard hygiene wipe substrate. It will create hygiene wipes layered with PDA-added nanofibers. The electrospinning will be varied by spinning time to incorporate the PDA-nanofibers on the wipe substrate at different weight ratios.Task 2.2 Evaluation of the Sensitivity and Selectivity of Smart Wipes: Sensitivity of the smart wipes will be evaluated in the lab setting by exposing the wipes to aqueous solutions of E. coli, and testing the resulting colorimetric change. The selectivity of the smart wipes will be also evaluated by exposing the wipes to bacteria that are not indicative of foodborne bacterial infection.Specific Aim 3: Assess usability and efficacy of the microbial-sensing nanofiber technology in real-time monitoring of foodborne bacterial infection.Task 3.1: Scale-Up of Smart Wipe: Upon the successful verification of nanofiber biosensing technology from the lab work described in specific aim 1 and 2, a field testing will be performed at the Aspen Grille to evaluate sensitivity and selectivity of the smart wipe in the food processing practice. Aspen Grille is a student-operated restaurant conveniently located on the CSU campus. One of the PIs is the faculty of CSU's Hospitality Management Program and will have access to the restaurant's kitchen and personnel. For the field testing, ten 3"x3" nonwoven PDA-added nanofiber swatches will be produced in the PI's lab and patched on the surface of 100% cotton kitchen wipes. This practice is designed to mitigate the low quantity of electrospun nanofibers that can be produced in the lab.Task 3.2: Field Evaluation on Usability and Performance: Aspen Grille personnel will be asked to test for visual monitoring of bacterial existence on kitchen countertops. Taking a parsimonious approach, the kitchen surface will first be cleaned by trained personnel to the restaurant's hygiene standard. The kitchen personnel will then wipe the cleaned countertops using the smart biosensing wipe and visually examine colorimetric changes on the wipe. This experiment will be conducted at the end of a daily kitchen operation, once a day, in a 2-week span. The tested specimen will be collected in a designated separate zip lock bag each day. The frequency, size, and location of bacterial contamination on the wipes will be measured, so as to determine contamination patterns. Followed by the 2-week long experiment, focus groups will be convened with the kitchen personnel who has participated in the experiment during any day of the experiment period, to understand their evaluations on the performance and effectiveness of the smart wipe for the kitchen safety and hygiene.

Progress 07/01/15 to 06/30/17

Target Audience:Researchers who are interested in smart medical textiles Changes/Problems: Nothing Reported What opportunities for training and professional development has the project provided?The graduate student who worked in the project presented a research poster at the 2017 Fiber Society Annual meeting. How have the results been disseminated to communities of interest?A journal article was published. Yapor, J. P., Alharby, A., Gentry-Weeks, C., Reynolds, M., Alam, A. K. M. M., & Li, Y. V.*, (2017), Polydiacetylene Nanofiber Composites as a Colorimetric Sensor Responding To Escherichia coli and pH. ACS Omega, 2(10), 7334-7342. What do you plan to do during the next reporting period to accomplish the goals? Nothing Reported

What was accomplished under these goals? The nanofibers that can detect the presence of bacteria via colorimetric changes are produced in the laboratory. The nanofibers have been characterized and analysized for fiber morphologies, detection properties, and colorimetric properties. The nanofibers demonstrate great potentials for detection applications including wound dressings and bandages.


  • Type: Journal Articles Status: Published Year Published: 2017 Citation: 2. Yapor, J. P., Alharby, A., Gentry-Weeks, C., Reynolds, M., Alam, A. K. M. M., & Li, Y. V.*, (2017), Polydiacetylene Nanofiber Composites as a Colorimetric Sensor Responding To Escherichia coli and pH. ACS Omega, 2(10), 7334-7342.

Progress 10/01/15 to 09/30/16

Target Audience: Nothing Reported Changes/Problems: Nothing Reported What opportunities for training and professional development has the project provided?Two 0.25 graduate research assistants and two undergraduate research assistantswere hired to work on the project. One undergraduate research assistantreceived a professional development grant funded by the CSU school of biomedical engineering. The grant supported the undergraduate student to attend the 2016 Biomedical Engineering Society Annual meeting (Minneapolis, Minnesota, Oct. 5-8, 2016) and to present some results of this project at the undergraduate research symposium. How have the results been disseminated to communities of interest? Nothing Reported What do you plan to do during the next reporting period to accomplish the goals?We will be focusing on specific aim 3, which is to assess usability and efficacy of the microbial-sensing wipe in real-time monitoring of foodborne bacterial infection.Aspen Grille has agreed to be a testing site, and practicality and sensitivity ofthe wipe product will be evaluated in spring 2017. Issues and concerns reported by the users will further inform the development of a final product.

What was accomplished under these goals? The work that was done during this reporting period continuedon specific aim1 and also focused on specific aims 2 and 3. In specific aim 1, we continued on thedevelopmentand characterizations oftheelectrospun nanofibersthat containeda surface decoration of polydiacetylene (PDA) capable of detecting E. coli and signaling via blue-to-red changes. A mixture solution of polyethylene oxide (PEO) and Pentacosadiynoic acid (PCDA) was used to prepare PEO-PDA fibers via electrospinning. The size and surface roughness of the fibers was reduced when the mass ratio of PEO to PCDA was increased. A colrimetric change from blue to red was observed when the fibers were treated at a temperature that was higher than 600C. The results suggested that the PDA fiber composites does not change color at low temperature. It is significant because the designed application of hygiene wipes for cleanning purpose in kitchensusually associates with room temparature or slightly higher temperature, in most cases below600C, which is able to exclude a false positive signal for foodborne bacterial sensing application. The study of electrospinning demonstrated that PEO significantly enhaned the spinnability of the PDA. PEO-PDA fiber mats were tested in E. coli culture. Color changes (blue-to-red) were observed and the colorimetric transitional mechanism was proposed to occur due to conformational changes in the PDA macromolecules. In our work, the PEO-PDA fiber exhibited color switch due to the presence of E. coliwhen the cell count of E. coli was greater than 105, which indicated the sensitivity of the detection in the fibers. The sensitivity was foundasa funtion of the ratio of PDA in the fiber composites as well as the electrospinning parameters. Further study is undergoing tooptimize the composition of PEO-PDAfibers. In specific aim 2, we used differentstrategies ofintegrating the electrospun nanofiber-vesicle matrix into a commercial avaliablehygiene wipe capable of detecting E. coli via colorimetric indication. The most successful strategy was to use adsive spray and cover the wipe before depositing electrospun PEO-PDA fibers on the wipe, resulting a good adhesion between the sensing nanofibers and the wipe substrate. A strip template made from fin foil that allowedto create PDA-covered strips on the wipe, which worked asindicator strips (similar as the color indicator on baby desposible diapers). The wipe decorated with PDA fiber strips in blue was tested in laboratory and successfully exhibited the detection capability of the presence of E. coli via a color switch from blue to red. The results demonstrated a proof-of-concept of bacterial-detecting hygiene wipes possiblyused for food processing sites, such as restaurants and public dining areas. Additionally, ground work for specific aim 3 was done. A thorough search of current literature has been conducted on methods and contexts for microbial surface contamination. Advantages and disadvantages of various testing methods were evaluated, and a testing protocol, most suitable for this project, was defined anddeveloped. The testing protocol combinesobjective quantification of surface contamination and subjective assessment of perceived cleanness of a target hygiene practice.An application for Institutional Review Board (IRB)approvalhas been submitted and currently under review.


  • Type: Journal Articles Status: Published Year Published: 2016 Citation: Alam, A K M M., Yapor, J. P., Reynold, M. M., & Li, Y. V.* (2016), Study of Polydiacetylene-Poly (Ethylene Oxide) Electrospun Fibers for Temperature Sensitive Biosensors. Materials, 9(3), 202.
  • Type: Conference Papers and Presentations Status: Accepted Year Published: 2015 Citation: October 28, 2015, "Smart Wound Dressing Fibers for Detecting Bacterial Infection via Colorimetric Changes", 2015 Spring Fiber Society Meeting, Alam, A. K. M. M., Yapor, J. P., Reynolds, M. M., Li, Y. V. (Author & Presenter), Raleigh, NC, USA

Progress 07/01/15 to 09/30/15

Target Audience: Nothing Reported Changes/Problems: Nothing Reported What opportunities for training and professional development has the project provided? Nothing Reported How have the results been disseminated to communities of interest? Nothing Reported What do you plan to do during the next reporting period to accomplish the goals?We will continue working on specific aim 1 to complete the rest of tasks, including the evaluation of selectivity and sensitivity of electrspun PDA-PEO nanofibers for detecting E. coli via color changes.

What was accomplished under these goals? During 07/01/2015 - 09/30/2015,our effort was focused on specific aim 1, particularly on the sythesis of polydiacetylene (PDA) and the electrospinning ofPDA nanofibers. 10,12-Pentacosadiynoic acid (PCDA, GFS Chemicals), CH3(CH2)11CCCC(CH2)7CH2OOH, was used to prepare polydiacetylene (PDA). Poly (ethylene oxide) (PEO, Mw = 300,000 g/mol, Sigma-Aldrich) was chosen to serve as the nanofiber matrix. Both PCDA and PEO dissolved in chloroform at concentrations of 1.67% for PCDA and 5.00 % for PEO, respectively. The solution was kept stirring for 2 hours at room temperature until the solution became uniform light-pink solution. A customized electrospinning apparatus was used to create fibers, primarily consisting of a Gamma High Voltage Research ES50P power supply, a Harvard PHD 2000 syringe pump, and a stain-steel collecting drum with a diameter of 8 cm. The uniform PCDA/PEO solution was injected at 0.2 ml/hr and 15KV. Colorless fibers were collected at distance = 17 cm on the stain-steel drum. The obtained fibers were kept in the dark overnight before UV light irradiation. During the irradiation with UV light at 254 nm, the fibers became blue within 30 seconds and then turned deep blue in 3 minutes. The size and morphology of the obtained fibers were characterized using a field emission electron scanning microscopy (FESEM, JEOL JSM-6500F) shown in Figure 1. Figure 1. SEM images of electrospun PDA/PEO fibers. Left: The fibers have a diameter ranging from 1.55 µm to 1.88 µm. Right: The fibers are decorated with smaller fibrous hairs on the surface.