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SO2SAFE Report Summary

Project ID: 684026


Reporting period: 2015-07-01 to 2016-06-30

Summary of the context and overall objectives of the project

Sulphites are food additives with antioxidant and preservative properties. However, they are recorded as allergens by the main international regulatory bodies on food safety because of their adverse health effects. Hence, sulphites maximum concentration in foodstuff is regulated, and must be ensured by the agro-food processing industries. Current methods such as Monier Williams are not solving the problem of the high quality control standards required to comply with new regulation on food safety and consumer health protection. The agro-food industry demands new technology enabling fast, accurate and simple methods for sulphite level monitoring and traceability along the whole supply chain. BIOLAN has already developed at the laboratory scale a simple, reliable and specific enzymatic biosensor based on solid electrodes for sulphite determination.
Within the frame of the project SO2SAFE, financed under the H2020 SME instrument phase 2, and with such solid electrode biosensors as a background, BIOLAN is developing a novel miniaturized ready to use biosensor based on disposable screen printed electrodes (SPE) which will allow a highly sensitive, selective, fast and user friendly method for determination of sulphites in crustaceans. SO2SAFE biosensors consist of a simple use measuring device and the disposable enzymatic SPE on which the analysis is done. In this contribution, the first results obtained within the framework of SO2SAFE project will be presented.
SO2SAFE biosensors are targeted to all agro-food industries where sulphites are used as additives at different steps of the supply chain. The novel solution will be relevant not only for the food industry economy, but also for the society due to the direct impact that the sulphite has in health.

Work performed from the beginning of the project to the end of the period covered by the report and main results achieved so far

Main specifications for the development of a miniaturized biosensor for sulphite concentration determination in crustaceans and for the scale up manufacturing process have been defined. Specifications for materials, processes, subcontractors and manufacturing conditions have served as initial guidelines for suitable biosensor development and manufacture.
Design of casing and miniaturized electronics have been defined, and a first prototype of the miniaturized measuring device has been defined and manufactured.
The novel sulfite biosensors were constructed by modifying the working electrode of the SPEs with Sulfite Oxidase (SOx) enzyme. Amount of each component, as well as the working potential were optimized in order to achieve the highest sensitivity. The developed biosensor was applied for the detection of sulphite in real samples, in particular, in the water collected from three shrimp farm bins located in Ecuador, where sodium metabisulphite is added to prevent melanosis. The real samples were diluted 100 times with 0,1M carbonate buffer pH = 10,2 before performing the amperometric measurements and the sulfite concentration was determined. The sulfite concentrations in water samples containing 0, 50 and 100 g/l of sodium metabisulphite were found to be 0,2 ± 0,07, 52,2 ± 0,4 and 100 ± 7, respectively (n = 7). These results demonstrated that the developed sulfite biosensors can be used for monitoring sulphite in shrimp farming.
A preliminary design of the scale-up manufacturing process has been defined, including enzyme production, SPE printing, biofunctionalization and packaging.

Progress beyond the state of the art and expected potential impact (including the socio-economic impact and the wider societal implications of the project so far)

- Progress beyond the state of the art
The table attached summarizes the main sulphite monitoring methods currently used and compares them with the first prototype of the miniaturized sulphite biosensor developed according to the most relevant criteria.

- Potential impact
BIOLAN has identified the crustacean market as the most affected by potential sulphite problems, but this additive is extensively used in other foods and also in beverages. Therefore, other markets are relevant for extending the novel sulphite biosensor, diversifying the market segments and having a direct successful impact in BIOLAN market position.

The novel solution will have a direct impact not only in the food industry economy, but also in the society due to the direct impact the sulphite has on health. Only between 1st July 2015 and 30th June 2016, 58 notifications concerning high sulphite levels in food were registered in RASFF. SO2SAFE project will contribute to dramatically reduce this figure, and hence, to support the societal challenge of providing consumers with safe and healthy food.

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