The present study demonstrates that carbon nanoparticles (CNPs) can be used as labels in microarrays. CNPs were used in nucleic acid microarray immunoassays (NAMIAs) for the detection of different Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli (STEC) virulence factors: four genes specific for STEC (vt1, vt2, eae, and ehxA) and the gene for E. coli 16S (hui). Optimization was performed using a Box–Behnken design, and the limit of detection for each virulence factor was established. Finally, this NAMIA using CNPs was tested with DNA from 48 field strains originating from cattle feces, and its performance was evaluated by comparing results with those achieved by the reference method q-PCR. All factors tested gave sensitivity and specificity values higher than 0.80 and efficiency values higher than 0.92. Kappa coefficients showed an almost perfect agreement (k > 0.8) between NAMIA and the reference method used for vt1, eae, and ehxA, and a perfect agreement (k = 1) for vt2 and hui. The excellent agreement between the developed NAMIA and q-PCR demonstrates that the proposed analytical procedure is indeed fit for purpose, i.e., it is valuable for fast screening of amplified genetic material such as E. coli virulence factors. This also proves the applicability of CNPs in microarrays.
- pathogen detection
- dna microarray