Click here for more information about Algenuity
Click here for more information about Liqofluxphenometrics515R1
Visit cricatalyst.com!Evodos Separation Technology

Research

Fossilized algae hold promise for improved food safety

April 22, 2018 — by Steve Lundeberg
AlgaeIndustryMagazine.com

Histamine detection (click to enlarge).

Researchers have used fossilized algae to take a key step toward being able to more sensitively detect harmful contaminants in food. The findings are important because each year 48 million people get sick from tainted food, 128,000 end up in the hospital, and 3,000 die, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The work by Alan Wang of Oregon State University’s College of Engineering, in Corvallis, OR, and collaborators in China involved diatomite, which is derived from fossilized cell walls of diatoms, and gold nanoparticles.

Diatoms, whose species number more than 200,000, hold great potential for biosensing, with their intricate cell walls, known as frustules, offering promising nanotechnology applications.

“Diatomite is essentially composed of hydrated biosilica with periodic nanopores, and it possesses photonic crystal features. In this research, the photonic crystal features enhance optical field intensity, which means detection with greater sensitivity,” said Dr. Wang, associate professor of electrical and computer engineering.

Those features enable the nanostructure to alter the motion of light – think of the iridescence of opals, gems to which diatom frustules have been compared.

Researchers used diatomite as the matrix of a thin-layer chromatography plate and also as the substrate for surface-enhanced Raman scattering.

Thin-layer chromatography, or TLC, is a longstanding, simple technology widely used in small molecule separation, and surface-enhanced Raman spectroscopy, known as SERS, is a detection platform for chemical and biological agents.

“In tandem, SERS and TLC can create a powerful method for on-site identification of contaminants that is simple and fast and requires no complicated sample preprocessing,” Dr. Wang said.

Dr. Wang and researchers at two universities in China — Liaoning Shihua University and Shandong University of Science and Technology — constructed a “lab on a chip” photonic crystal device that successfully monitored histamine in salmon and tuna.

“Histamine comes from the decomposition of the meat,” he said. “It has no smell and no taste and consumption results in symptoms like headaches and skin rash. Fresh fish usually contain negligible amounts of histamine, but some fish like tuna and sardines are particularly susceptible to producing it if they’re not properly stored before consumption.”

Not only is it impossible for people to know if they are eating histamine, historically it’s also been difficult to detect it scientifically. “In solution it’s very easy, but buried in food it’s very hard simply because of all the background interference resulting from the complicated components of the meat,” he said. “Proteins, fats, carbohydrates, they all obscure the signal of histamine when you’re trying to detect it.”

But the photonic crystal properties of diatomite act as an innovative, powerful amplifier for optical detection. “The gold nanoparticles and the diatomite layer supply nearly 10 times the SERS signal intensity compared to a common silica gel chromatography plate,” Dr. Wang said. “We made a simple and inexpensive device to isolate and identify contaminants. This on-chip device can be applied as a cheap and robust biosensor for monitoring a variety of harmful ingredients in food samples.”

The U.S. Department of Agriculture, the National Institutes of Health and Liaoning Shihua University supported this research. The findings were published in the journal Materials.

More Like This…

Copyright ©2010-2019 AlgaeIndustryMagazine.com. All rights reserved. Permission required to reprint this article in its entirety. Must include copyright statement and live hyperlinks. Contact editorial@algaeindustrymagazine.com. A.I.M. accepts unsolicited manuscripts for consideration, and takes no responsibility for the validity of claims made in submitted editorial.

twittertopbarlinks_eventstopbarlinks_requesttopbarlinks_archives

From The A.I.M. Archives

— Refresh Page for More Choices
Globally, an increase in water pollution is pushing scientists and environmental care specialists to seek best ways of preserving and maintaining sources of safe drinking...
French researchers have been exploring the potential of algae for boosting the immune systems of animals and reducing the use of antibiotics in livestock farming. Past st...
JapanNews.com reports that Euglena Co., a Tokyo-based maker of nutritional supplements, is spending ¥5.8 billion ($5.3 million USD) on building a test refinery that conve...
At the Technical University of Denmark (DTU), Science Nordic.com reports, researchers are investigating bioluminescent algae, to determine whether bioluminescent organism...
Hayley Dunning writes from the Imperial College of London that a new discovery has changed our understanding of the basic mechanism of photosynthesis and should rewrite t...
Amy Thompson writes in Space.com that SpaceX successfully launched its 15th Space Station cargo-resupply mission on Friday, June 29; carrying a payload of experiments des...
Algae and corals have been leaning on each other since dinosaurs roamed the earth, much longer than had been previously thought, according to new research led by scientis...
Alexander Richter writes in thinkgeoenergy.com that Israel-based Algaennovation last week signed a 15-year contract with Icelandic energy utility and operator ON Power fo...
The Swiss Algae Consortium Association (SWALG) was founded in May 2018 as a non-profit organization that serves as a platform for algae-related activities in Switzerland ...
Julianna Photopoulos writes in Horizon EU Research and Innovation magazine that UK start-up Skipping Rocks Lab aims to use natural materials extracted from plants and sea...
Mazda U.K. has announced that they are currently involved in joint research projects and studies as part of an ongoing industry-academia-government collaboration to promo...
Jason Huffman writes in UndercurrentNews.com that the Kampachi Company, a mariculture business focused on expanding the environmentally sound production of sashimi-grade ...