Biosensors for rapid detection of bacterial pathogens in water, food and environment

Raphael Chukwuka Nnachi, Ning Sui, Bowen Ke, Zhenhua Luo, Nikhil Bhalla, Daping He, Zhugen Yang

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

39 Citations (Scopus)
211 Downloads (Pure)


Conventional techniques (e.g., culture-based method) for bacterial detection typically require a central laboratory and well-trained technicians, which may take several hours or days. However, recent developments within various disciplines of science and engineering have led to a major paradigm shift in how microorganisms can be detected. The analytical sensors which are widely used for medical applications in the literature are being extended for rapid and on-site monitoring of the bacterial pathogens in food, water and the environment. Especially, within the low-resource settings such as low and middle-income countries, due to the advantages of low cost, rapidness and potential for field-testing, their use is indispensable for sustainable development of the regions. Within this context, this paper discusses analytical methods and biosensors which can be used to ensure food safety, water quality and environmental monitoring. In brief, most of our discussion is focused on various rapid sensors including biosensors and microfluidic chips. The analytical performances such as the sensitivity, specificity and usability of these sensors, as well as a brief comparison with the conventional techniques for bacteria detection, form the core part of the discussion. Furthermore, we provide a holistic viewpoint on how future research should focus on exploring the synergy of different sensing technologies by developing an integrated multiplexed, sensitive and accurate sensors that will enable rapid detection for food safety, water and environmental monitoring.

Original languageEnglish
Article number107357
Pages (from-to)1-20
Number of pages20
JournalEnvironment international
Early online date18 Jun 2022
Publication statusPublished online - 18 Jun 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work is supported by the UK NERC Fellowship grant (NE/R013349/2) and the Royal Academy of Engineering Frontier Follow-up Grant (FF\1920\1\36). BK thanks Chengdu Science and Technology Program(2018-CY02-00042-GX).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 The Author(s)


  • Molecular method
  • Pathogens
  • Water quality
  • Biosensors
  • Paper microfluidics


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