Corporate Banner
Satellite Banner
Food & Beverage Analysis
Scientific Community
Become a Member | Sign in
Home>News>This Article

UCLA Engineers Create Cell Phone-Based Sensor for Detection of E. coli

Published: Thursday, March 01, 2012
Last Updated: Thursday, March 01, 2012
Bookmark and Share
The study illustrates the promising potential of a cell phone–enabled, field-portable and cost-effective E. coli detection platform for the screening of both water and food samples.

Researchers from the UCLA Henry Samueli School of Engineering and Applied Science have developed a new cell phone–based fluorescent imaging and sensing platform that can detect the presence of the bacterium Escherichia coli in food and water. The engineers combined antibody functionalized glass capillaries with quantum dots (semiconductors often used for medical imaging) as signal reporters to specifically detect E. coli particles in liquid samples using a lightweight, compact attachment to an existing cell-phone camera.

Using battery-powered, inexpensive light-emitting diodes (LEDs), the researchers can excite/pump labeled E. coli particles captured on the capillary surface; there, emissions from the quantum dots can be imaged with the cell-phone camera, using an additional lens inserted between the capillary and the cell phone.

The cost-effective cell-phone attachment acts as a florescent microscope, quantifying the emitted light from each capillary after the specific capture of E. coli particles within a sample. By quantifying the florescent light emission from each tube, the concentration of E. coli in the sample can be determined.

E. coli can easily contaminate food and drinking water. It poses a significant threat to public health, even in highly developed parts of the world, and causes a large number of hospitalizations and deaths every year. As few as 10–100 E. coli particles can kill the cells of the intestinal lining, destroy the kidneys and cause blood clots in the brain, as well as seizures, paralysis and respiratory failure.

Authors of the research include UCLA electrical engineering postdoctoral scholar Hongying Zhu; UCLA electrical engineering undergraduate student Uzair Sikora; and UCLA associate professor of electrical engineering and bioengineering Aydogan Ozcan. Ozcan is also a member of the California NanoSystems Institute at UCLA. More on Ozcan's research group can be found at

The research is published in the peer-reviewed journal The Royal Society of Chemistry and is available online.

Further Information

Join For Free

Access to this exclusive content is for Technology Networks Premium members only.

Join Technology Networks Premium for free access to:

  • Exclusive articles
  • Presentations from international conferences
  • Over 3,500+ scientific posters on ePosters
  • More than 5,100+ scientific videos on LabTube
  • 35 community eNewsletters

Sign In

Forgotten your details? Click Here
If you are not a member you can join here

*Please note: By logging into you agree to accept the use of cookies. To find out more about the cookies we use and how to delete them, see our privacy policy.

Scientific News
Questioning the Safety of Selenium to Combat Cancer
Research indicates the need for change in practice as selenium supplements cannot be recommended for preventing colorectal cancer.
Food Analysis Applications of Core-Shell Columns in HPLC
Despite applications of core-shell particles columns in food analysis being at an early stage, articles describing their use for improving separations of several classes of compounds are becoming more frequent.
Cocoa Compound Linked to Some Cardiovascular Biomarker Improvements
The study highlights the urgent need for large, long-term RCTs that improve understanding of how the short-term benefits of cocoa flavanol intake on cardiometabolic biomarkers may be translated into clinical outcomes.
Desalinated Sea Water Linked to Iodine Deficiency Disorders
Study suggests that desalination can dramatically increase the prevalence of inadequate iodine intake.
3D-Printing in Science: Conference Co-Staged with LABVOLUTION
LABVOLUTION 2017 will have an added highlight of a simultaneous conference, "3D-Printing in Science".
A New Technique to Beat the Food Fraudsters
Shoppers can be more confident that their burgers are the real deal following a new method of testing for meat fraud developed at the Institute of Food Research on the Norwich Research Park.
Antibiotic Resistance Can Occur Naturally in Soil Bacteria
Scientists have found natural anti-biotic resistant bacteria in soils with little to no human exposure.
Eggs from Small Flocks More Likely to Contain Salmonella
Penn State study suggests that eggs from small local enterprises are not safer to eat than “commercially produced” eggs.
Using X-rays to Figure Out Fats
Scientists trying to replace food fats with non-saturated versions are looking to x-rays to aid them.
Feeding Babies Egg and Peanut May Prevent Food Allergy
The new analysis pools all existing data, and suggests introducing egg and peanut at an early age may prevent the development of allergy.

Skyscraper Banner
Go to LabTube
Go to eposters
Access to the latest scientific news
Exclusive articles
Upload and share your posters on ePosters
Latest presentations and webinars
View a library of 1,800+ scientific and medical posters
3,500+ scientific and medical posters
A library of 2,500+ scientific videos on LabTube
5,100+ scientific videos