Biosensors for Cleanliness and Dirt

The cleanliness of a surface can be ascertained through visual inspection, but of course this is not a quantifiable effort and can't be seen by the unassisted eye. On this page we discuss biosensors that are bacteria specific, and additionally purine biosensors with broader applicability for more generic  cleanliness investigations.


Whether a system is clean can be determined by an assessment of the bacteria population using traditional colony forming unit measurement, where an agar plate is inoculated with the sample and colonies of bacteria are allowed to grow.  The issues with agar plates is that the technique is neither quick to prepare and quantification takes at least 24 hours.


The FoodSense from Zimmer and Peacock is a biosensors system licensed from Oxford University, where within  30 minutes the E. Coli population in a sample can be determined.

The biosensor on the FoodSense is very specific to E. Coli, bu when asking broader questions regarding whether a system is or is not clean,  it is necessary to have a biosensor with broader sensitivity to pathogens.


The FoodSense platform is designed to answer the question 'is a specific bacteria present ?', but when asking the more broader question on whether is a system is clean or  'dirty'  then this question can't be answered by a biosensor with very high specificity.


For example a FoodSene E Coli Sensor can detect E Coli, but it can't be used in a hospital setting to  detect methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA). This is because the sensor is working as intended and with its high specificity to E coli it is therefore 'blind' to Staphylococcus aureus.


When asking the question whether a system is clean then a biosensor that is broader in applicability is required, therefore ZP recommends our patent protected purine sensing technology. The purines associated with bacteria includes: hypoxanthine, adenosine, ATP and inosine; their presence in the sample/environment is linked to the sample/system microbial load. The advantage of the purine biosensor is it can detects general bacteria activity regardless of whether it is E Coli, Staphylococcus aureus etc. 


ZP is the World's largest independent ISO13485 contract developer and manufacturer of electrochemical biosensors, including disposable sensors and wearable sensors. 


ZP is able to accelerate the development of new sensors, sensor form factors and new sensor applications using our ZP Accelerator platform, please contact us to discuss more.