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IMPRoved food safety monitoring through Enhanced imaging nanoplaSmonicS

Final Report Summary - IMPRESS (IMPRoved food safety monitoring through Enhanced imaging nanoplaSmonicS)

The objective of the IMPRESS project was to develop an affordable, portable, multiplexing and flexible Surface Plasmon Resonance (SPR) biosensor device (the IMPRESSOR), based on Plasmore’s nanotechnology expertise, to obtain a fast impression of the quality and safety of food. The three partners in the consortium had totally different but complementary expertise. The combination of a biosensor (chip) developer/producer (Plasmore) with a peptide synthesizer (Schafer-N) and a food safety control institute developing and producing antibodies against food contaminants (RIKILT) resulted in unique innovative results for the detection of food contaminants with a special focus on allergenic protein detection combined with model assays for antibiotics and mycotoxins. The exchange of knowledge between the three partners was stimulated by the exchange of people which included secondments of an expert immunochemical experienced researcher (ER) from RIKILT to Plasmore, to transfer and evaluate model immunoassays, and secondments of two employees from Plasmore to RIKILT, of which one was an early stage researcher (ESR) seconded for 2 years and the other was an ER seconded in split stays of in total 8 months. Their research focussed on getting knowledge about the model immunoassays. Schafer-N was not able to find/recruit a suitable ER to further develop and apply the high-density peptide array system. However, their system was that far developed that the new goal was to focus on the application and for that, an ESR from RIKLT was seconded to Schafer-N for 4 months during which she found many interesting epitopes for commercially available polyclonal antibodies (pAbs) against milk proteins and for a range of monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) and pAbs against food allergenic proteins of RIKILT. From a selection of these epitopes, synthetic epitope-containing peptides were prepared and most of them were tested at Plasmore with the IMPRESSOR and a few at RIKILT with the Biacore resulting in improved stability and sensitivity. The remaining budget of Schafer-N was used to second the same ESR from RIKILT to Plasmore for 20 months to improve the chip surface chemistry (developing a 3D structure) and the biosensor tests which resulted in a better biosensor performance. For the improvement of the nanostructured sensor chip surface chemistry, Plasmore also recruited an ER for 12 months. Meanwhile, Plasmore developed and engineered the new IMPRESSOR prototype which is in the (thick) labtop format now.
Although (approved) changes were made in timing and type of secondment and recruitments, the project has achieved its objectives and technical goals with the newly developed IMPRESSOR. This prototype is affordable (estimated production price of 10 k€ (in mass production)), portable ((thick) laptop format), multiplexing (up to 1000 spots), based on Nanoplasmonic SPR in which multiple assays can be performed simultaneously within 15 min. The coated (spotted) biosensor chips are reusable for over 50 times, which reduces the costs of the consumables, and the sensitivities are in the ranges of the requirements (ppb for the mycotoxin and antibiotic and ppm for the allergens). The synthetic epitope-containing peptides (SEPs) improved the biosensor immunoassay for milk proteins. Other identified SEPs were tested with soy mAbs and with pAbs against egg white, egg yolk, lupine and wheat and were proven to be specific in an array format. Combined applications with mycotoxin and antibiotic assays could be performed which is promising for the future application.
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