A microscopic biological sensor that detects Salmonella bacteria in lab tests has been developed by an Agricultural Research Service (ARS) scientist and university colleagues. The sensor could be adapted to detect other foodborne pathogens as well.

The sensor is part of an evolving science known as nanotechnology, the study and manipulation of materials on a molecular or even atomic level, measured in billionths of a meter, which is about 10 to100 times thinner than a human hair. The biosensors include fluorescent organic dye particles attached to Salmonella antibodies. The antibodies hook onto Salmonella bacteria and the dye lights up like a beacon, making the bacteria easier to see.

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