Date of Award


Document Type

Thesis - SCU Access Only


Santa Clara : Santa Clara University, 2017.



First Advisor

Unyoung Kim

Second Advisor

Michele Parker


In the developing world, many women are unable to breastfeed their children due to disease, malnourishment or lack of time to invest in breastfeeding. In an attempt to address the medical issues this causes, human breast milk banks have been established in some of these communities and healthy mothers have been encouraged to donate their breast milk for infants who would not otherwise have access to breast milk. Since many of these banks are located in resource limited areas, they often lack proper refrigeration and pasteurization equipment. Improper refrigeration and incomplete pasteurization of donated breast milk often results in the donated breast milk being infected with Escherichia coli (E. coli). Recently, non- governmental organizations such as PATH, a leader in global health innovation, have stepped in to develop simple methods for flash heat pasteurization that can be used in resource limited areas without current equipment. However, there is no existing way to ensure that breast milk has been pasteurized properly by flash heat pasteurization. Thus, there is an immediate need for a sensor that can detect pathogenic E. coli bacteria in the breast milk after this pasteurization. The objective of our project is to design an economical paper-based microfluidic sensor that tests for levels of E. coli in donated breast milk. The goal is to ensure that all distributed breast milk pasteurized by the flash heat pasteurization process is safe for infants to consume before it is distributed.

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