Detection of Escherichia coli O157:H7 in fruit juices such as apple cider is necessary for diagnosis of infection and epidemiological investigations. However, inhibitors in the apple cider, such as endogenous polyphenols and acids, often decrease the sensitivity of PCR assays and immunoassays, thus routinely requiring laborious cell separation steps to increase the sensitivity. In the current study, polyethylene glycol (PEG)–derivatized liposomes encapsulating sulforhodamine B were tagged with anti–E. coli O157:H7 antibodies and used in an immunoliposome sandwich assay for the detection of E. coli O157:H7 in apple cider. Even without prior separation, this assay can detect E. coli O157:H7 in apple cider samples inoculated with as few as 1 CFU/ml after an 8-h enrichment period. The lower limit of detection in pure cultures without enrichment was 7 × 103 CFU/ml (280 CFU/40-μl sample). PEGylated immunoliposomes are suitable as an analytical reagent for the detection of E. coli O157:H7 in fruit juices containing polyphenols.

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Author notes

Present address: Division of Nano Sciences, Ewha Womans University, Seoul, Korea.