Real-Time Biosensors for Detection of Viable Bacteria

Technology #16738

Questions about this technology? Ask a Technology Manager

Download Printable PDF

Image Gallery
Eric McLamore
Ishika Islam Khondaker
Managed By
John Byatt
Assistant Director 352-392-8929
Patent Protection
US Patent Pending

Simple Device Detects and Quantifies Live Bacteria

This biosensor and methodology detects and quantifies live bacteria and can be used for applications such as food safety testing and water quality monitoring. There is an urgent need to test many food products and water sources for contamination with pathogenic bacteria. Many methods measure both non-viable (dead) as well as viable (live) bacteria and established techniques for measuring viable bacterial cells are slow and either have a high rate of false positives (detect dead as well as live cells) or have issues with false negatives (do not detect all viable cells).

Researchers at the University of Florida have developed a simple methodology and biosensor that rapidly detects and quantifies the number of live bacteria in a sample of food or water. This technology directly incorporates into any electrochemical sensor and can also be adapted for use as a colorimetric assay.


Quality control monitoring by detecting live (viable) bacteria in solutions for evaluating water quality and food safety


  • Rapid determination of cell viability (within one hour)
  • Simple approach with commonly available materials. Does not require expensive equipment or reagents, keeping pathogenic testing costs low
  • Method can be combined with any biosensor or assay


This device rapidly determines the quantity of viable bacteria in a solution by measuring the transient production of biogenic amines by viable cells after adding an exogenous amino acid cocktail. The methodology directly incorporates into any bacterial sensor, and the exogenous amino acid solution used tailors to match the endogenous amino acid and micronutrient concentration of the sample being tested, such as water or a specific food product.