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Maggie Chekhova

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Maggie has been working on the food extraction project.This project is researching how to extract and detect bacteria from various food matrices. The purpose is to develop more efficient and cost-effective methods for detecting the bacteria before it can be consumed by someone and cause sickness. Specifically, I have been working with Listeria monocytogenes in spinach and working to concentrate and extract it using the magnetic nanoparticles This is done by inoculating spinach with listeria, liquifying the spinach, and adding magnetic nanoparticles. Then, the magnetic nanoparticles are magnetically separated and put in a phosphate-buffered saline solution. This is then grown on trypticase soy agar and Listeria selective plates to analyze the concentration factor that the magnetic nanoparticles produced. This is to determine the effectiveness of the procedure. The selective plates allow us to see that the magnetic nanoparticles were able to interact with Listeria and extract it. Since there is other bacteria present in the spinach naturally, this demonstrates that the Listeria can be concentrated to a detectable level. The experiment is repeated for four bags of spinach with one being a control with no Listeria. The objective of this research project is to decrease the time it takes to detect foodborne pathogens and apply these methods to other food matrices and bacteria to help prevent sickness.