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Leafy vegetables have been associated with high-profile outbreaks causing severe illnesses. Timely and accurate identification of potential contamination is essential to ensure food safety. A surface plasmon resonance (SPR) assay has been developed for the detection of Salmonella Typhimurium in leafy vegetables. The assay utilizes a pair of well characterized monoclonal antibodies specific to the flagellin of S. Typhimurium. Samples of romaine lettuce contaminated with S. Typhimurium at different levels (between 0.9 and 5.9 log cfu/g) were pre-enriched in buffered peptone water. Three SPR assay formats, direct assay, sequential two-step sandwich assay, and pre-incubation one-step sandwich assay were evaluated. All three assay formats detect well even at a low level of contamination (0.9 log cfu/g). The SPR assay showed a high specificity for the detection of S. Typhimurium in the presence of other commensal bacteria in the romaine lettuce samples. The results also suggested that further purification of flagellin from the sample preparation using immunomagnetic separation did not improve the detection sensitivity of the SPR assay. The functional protocol developed in this study can be readily used for the detection of S. Typhimurium in leafy vegetables with high sensitivity and specificity.

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