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Biosensor for quantitative detection of aflatoxin M1


Key words aflatoxin M1, flow-injection immunoassay, amperometric detection, raw milk, biosensor, microarray, mycotoxin, competitive immunoassay
Latest version 2010/12/22
Completed by TTZ

How does it work?

Primary objective Aflatoxins (strong carcinogenic toxins produced by Aspergillus sp.) are not destroyed by normal industrial food processing. Neither pasteurization, nor sterilization treatment influence aflatoxin contaminations. Therefore, early detection and quantification of aflatoxin M1 (AFM1) is necessary. The described biosensor is developed for aflatoxin detection in milk because milk is the only product with legal restrictions for AFM1.
Working principle This biosensor is based on an immunoassay format. An AFM1 specific antibody labeled with a fluorescent probe is mixed with the tested sample and binds to AFM1 present in the sample. Afterwards the mixture is given on a chip with AFM1 fixed on the surface. The remaining antibody binds to the fixed AFM1 and in the following the complex of free AFM1 and labeled antibody is eluted from the chip. Remaining antibodies bound to the fixed AFM1 generate the measurable fluorescence signal. Therefore, the amount of AFM1 in the sample is inversely proportional to the magnitude of the signal.
Additional effects Biosensors are renowned for their excellent sensitivity, selectivity and simplicity, offer good reproducibility and recoveries as well as low consumption of reagents.
Important process parameters Specific immunoassays conditions like pH, incubation time, ionic strength and temperature have to be adhered but still have to be specified for the final sensor.
Important product parameters

What can it be used for?

Products milk and milk products
Operations early identification of contamination
Solutions for short comings The United Nations stipulated that “there is an urgent need for simple, robust, low-cost analysis methods, for the major mycotoxins, which can be used in developing country laboratories”.

What can it NOT be used for?

Products non-liquid products can be analyzed only after clean-up
Other limitations Biosensors usually have a limited shelf life and therefore a limited reusability.

Positive results in milk or milk products obtained with immunoassays in general require confirmation by a valid reference method. AOAC and IUPAC accepted HPLC as the official technique for aflatoxin M1 quantification.

Risks or hazards no risks


Maturity prototype
Modularity /Implementation The biosensor technology enables low cost instrumentation, easy operation and automation. Biosensors can be fabricated as on-line and off-line devices.

Biosensors are not only limited to laboratory-based applications and therefore can be used by untrained personnel.

Analysis of milk powder /cheese requires sample preparation (clean-up techniques).

Consumer aspects improved safety of products at risk of aflatoxin contamination
Legal aspects Legal levels of aflatoxin M1(AFM1) according to (EU) No 165/2010:

0.05 µ for milk and milk products, 0.025 µ for infant formulae

Environmental aspects no information available yet, because biosensor is still a prototype

Further Information

Institutes TTZ, University of Rome, University of Molise, Silsoe, University of Bucharest, Cranfield University, University College Cork - Chemistry
References Badea et al. (2004) Aflatoxin M1 determination in raw milk using a flow-injection immunoassay system. Analytica Chimica Acta, 23, 141-148

Galvano, F., Galofaro, V., and Galvano, G. (1996) Occurrence and Stability of Aflatoxin M1 in Milk and Milk Products: A Worldwide Review, Journal of Food Protection 59, 1079–1090.

Lange, A., Eden, M., Lanzrath, B., Harms, C., Hennigs, C., Hilz, H. (2009) Development of nanosensors for the detection of quality parameters along the food chain: Development of a detection unit for Aflatoxin M1. Poster. World Dairy Summit. Berlin. Available online: [2010-12-10]

Mueckl, A., Eden, M., Hennings, C., Lange, A., Hilz, H. (2010) Novel detection system for Aflatoxin M1. Poster. ICFM Workshop. Freising. available online: [2010-12-10]

Parker, C. O. (2008) Dissertation. Development of an affinity sensor for the detection of aflatoxin M1 in milk, Cranfield University.

Proctor, D.L., 1994. Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations, ISBN 92-5-103456-7

Commission Regulation (EU) No 165/2010 of 26 February 2010 amending Regulation (EC) No 1881/2006 setting maximum levels for certain contaminants in foodstuffs as regards aflatoxins

World Health Organisation (WHO): International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) (2002) IARC Monographs on the evaluation of carcinogenic risks to humans. Some Traditional Herbal Medicines, Some Mycotoxins, Naphthalene and Styrene, IARCPress, France.

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Created by WikiSysop on 28 February 2012, at 13:11