In spore-forming bacteria such as Bacillus and Clostridium, the vegetative cells form highly durable hard shells called endospores inside the bacteria to survive as the growth environment deteriorates. Because of these properties, endospores can cause food poisoning and medical accidents if they contaminate food, medicine, or other products, and it is required for technology to detect the spores at the manufacturing site. In this study, we focused on the surface-enhanced Raman scattering (SERS) method for the sensitive detection of dipicolinic acid (DPA), a molecular marker of endospores. We constructed Fe3O4/Ag core-shell functional silver nanoparticles that specifically bind to DPA, and investigated a method for the qualitative detection of DPA by SERS and the quantitative detection of DPA by fluorescence method using a terbium complex formed on the surface. As a result, the concentration of the functional silver nanoparticles constructed could detect spore-derived DPA by fluorescence detection method, and SERS was several tens of nM. The functionalized nanoparticles can detect DPA quantitatively and qualitatively, and are expected to be applied to detection technology in the production of food and pharmaceuticals.
Keywords: dipicolinic acid; endospore; functional silver nanoparticles; surface-enhanced Raman scattering; terbium complex.