Biotech Updates

Purdue Scientists Develop a Nanoparticle with Antimicrobial Ability against Listeria

December 10, 2010

A team of scientists from Purdue University developed a nanoparticle which is important in lengthening the shelf life of foods susceptible to Listeria monocytogenes. The nanoparticle was derived by altering the surface of phytoglycogen, a carbohydrate found in sweet corn. Several forms of that nanoparticle have the ability to attract and release nisin, a food-based antimicrobial agent, that fights Listeria which is present in meats, dairy, and vegetables and can cause harmful effects to pregnant women, infants, adults, and those with weak immune systems.

"People have been using nisin for a number of years, but the problem has been that it is depleted quickly in a food system," said Arun Bhunia, a Purdue professor of food science who co-authored a paper with Yao on the findings in the early online version of the Journal of Controlled Release. "This nanoparticle is an improved way to deliver the antimicrobial properties of nisin for extended use."