One of the most critical parameters in food processing operations is the absence/presence of microbial pathogens, which are the cause of very significant risks for public health. Culture techniques are still the gold standard for microbial identification in the food industry, but these procedures are very time-consuming. Microfluidics and the lab-on-a-chip concept have found widespread application in engineering and biotechnology, providing a simple method to overcome the microbial enrichment process, usually being simple to handle and inexpensively manufactured, and they might allow high-throughput analysis of samples.
This project aims to develop a chip that not only is able to process large volumes of liquid in a short time, but also provides results comparable with the gold standard. The microfluidic device will be based on hydrodynamic trapping and combined with FISH to detect foodborne pathogens. Since FISH does not require nucleic acid amplification and it is fast to perform, it will enable a simpler miniaturization.