Antimicrobial resistance is a great concern in the medical community, as well as food industry. Soy peptides were tested against bacterial biofilms for their antimicrobial activity. A high throughput drug screening assay was developed using microfluidic technology, RAMAN spectroscopy, and optical microscopy for rapid screening of antimicrobials and rapid identification of pathogens.


Synthesized PGTAVFK and IKAFKEATKVDKVVVLWTA soy peptides were tested against Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Listeria monocytogenes using a microdilution assay. Microfluidic technology in combination with Surface Enhanced RAMAN Spectroscopy (SERS) and optical microscopy was used for rapid screening of soy peptides, pathogen identification, and to visualize the impact of selected peptides.


The PGTAVFK peptide did not significantly affect P. aeruginosa, although it had an inhibitory effect on L. monocytogenes above a concentration of 625 µM. IKAFKEATKVDKVVVLWTA was effective against both P. aeruginosa and L. monocytogenes above a concentration of 37.2 µM. High throughput drug screening assays were able to reduce the screening and bacterial detection time to 4 h. SERS spectra was used to distinguish the two bacterial species.


PGTAVFK and IKAFKEATKVDKVVVLWTA soy peptides showed antimicrobial activity against P. aeruginosa and L. monocytogenes. Development of high throughput assays could streamline the drug screening and bacterial detection process.

General significance

The results of this study show that the antimicrobial properties, biocompatibility, and biodegradability of soy peptides could possibly make them an alternative to the ineffective antimicrobials and antibiotics currently used in the food and medical fields. High throughput drug screening assays could help hasten pre-clinical trials in the medical field.

Biosensors, as an application for animal health management, are an emerging market that is quickly gaining recognition in the global market. Globally, a number of sensors being produced for animal health management are at various stages of commercialization. Some technologies for producing an accurate health status and disease diagnosis are applicable only for humans, with few modifications or testing in animal models. Now, these innovative technologies are being considered for their future use in livestock development and welfare. Precision livestock farming techniques, which include a wide span of technologies, are being applied, along with advanced technologies like microfluidics, sound analyzers, image-detection techniques, sweat and salivary sensing, serodiagnosis, and others. However, there is a need to integrate all the available sensors and create an efficient online monitoring system so that animal health status can be monitored in real time, without delay. This review paper discusses the scope of different wearable technologies for animals, nano biosensors and advanced molecular biology diagnostic techniques for the detection of various infectious diseases of cattle, along with the efforts to enlist and compare these technologies with respect to their drawbacks and advantages in the domain of animal health management. The paper considers all recent developments in the field of biosensors and their applications for animal health to provide insight regarding the appropriate approach to be used in the future of enhanced animal welfare. 

Screening Ontario Grown Onion Varieties for Antioxidant Properties

Agricultural products are in great demand in nutra-pharmaceutical and biomedical industries due to their potential health benefits to humans. Among all vegetables, onions are the most widely and largely consumed vegetable. Onions are rich in phenolic such as flavonoids, and anthocyanins. Flavonoid has the potential to be antioxidant, antibacterial, anti-inflammatory and anticancerous. Studies indicate that the decline in cardiovascular diseases, breast cancer, diabetes, inflammation and osteoporosis could be linked to the consumption of flavonoid based foods. In this study, we screen Ontario grown onion varieties namely Stanley, Safrane, Fortress, Lasalle and Ruby Ring for their antioxidant properties, and isolate the flavonoids present in them and the best Ontario grown onion variety was chosen for developing functional food traits. Extraction with solvents, low polarity water and supercritical carbon dioxide produced flavonoids such as kampferol, quercetin, myricetin, isorhamnetin from all the 5 onion varieties. High Performance Liquid Chromatography analysis of the extracted flavonoids showed the presence of sulfur containing compounds. The antioxidant efficacy of these extracts evaluated by oxygen radical scavenging assays, 2,2'-azino-bis(3-ethylbenzothiazoline-6-sulphonic acid) (ABTS) and 2,2-diphenyl-1-picrylhydrazyl (DPPH) assays provided a better understanding of the nutrient profile of the Ontario grown onion varieties. Identification, enhancement and development of market quality traits such as antioxidants properties of Ontario-grown onions enhances their marketability as nutraceutical products, as natural antibiofilm coating agent for improved shelf life of packaged food and as a preservative in processed food.


Wound Healing: Electrotaxis of Pathogenic Bacterial Cells Using Microfluidics

Electrotaxis or Galvanotaxis is the display of migration pattern of cells towards varying electrical potential. Although electrotaxis has been extensively studied for mammalian cells, there have been no in-depth investigations of electrotaxis of bacterial cells, i.e., more specifically pathogenic bacterium. From the BioNano Lab of University of Guelph, we have designed and fabricated nanoporous microfluidic platforms using photolithography and soft lithography techniques for investigating the motility dynamics of single cells of pathogenic Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Acinetobacter baumannii to varying electrical potential and wound healing chemical agents. The orientation and migratory behaviour of single cells such as velocity, migration index, trajectories to varying strengths of multi-cue such as electric field and chemical concentrations  were systematically characterized using a series of experiments. The results of this project provides novel insights and strategies towards development of electroceutical solutions with applications for wound healing, prevention of biofouling in dairy-food processing, and oil transport in petroleum industries. Coexisting electrical stimulation and chemical treatment could serve as a potential technique for rapid wound healing.

Design and Development of an Internet of Things (IoT) based Poultry Monitoring Telemetry System

Simranjit Shahni & Suresh Neethirajan

Globalization and ecological pressures have increased the emergence of novel infections and global pandemics in poultry sector. This means that not only livestock such as poultry and egg laying birds are at increasing risk of contracting new and difficult to control diseases, but the people who care for them are as well. This is a game changer brought on by the speed of evolution of disease organisms. To meet the current and emerging challenges of poultry and egg laying birds’ disease surveillance, diagnostics and control, it is imperative that a paradigm shift occurs in how diseases are identified. This shift involves predicting diseases even before it occurs and preventing them through enhanced surveillance tools. Canadian poultry and livestock sector is under heavy pressure to improve its biosecurity protocols and enhance animal welfare. Canadian Food Inspection Agency is seeking new tools to enable rapid, real-time and on-farm monitoring of diseases, disease causing factors, and record keeping. The development of affordable; nanotechnologies based wireless networks that can be used for accurate real-time monitoring of the poultry farm environment is being addressed.  The BioNanolab of the University of Guelph has developed a real-time warning system for monitoring multiple environmental factors such as carbon dioxide and ammonia concentrations, temperature, humidity, water level, and activity of the chicken birds in the poultry farm using a user-friendly mobile ‘App’ and a wireless telemetry network architecture. The development of a framework and integration of wireless sensors and mobile system network to control and remotely monitor environmental parameters in the poultry farm provides as a promising biosecurity tool.

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