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Disruptive Nano Photonics-based bio sensing platform for simultaneous analysis of multiple allergens in food industry

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - SaPher (Disruptive Nano Photonics-based bio sensing platform for simultaneous analysis of multiple allergens in food industry)

Reporting period: 2020-07-01 to 2021-12-31

Detecting and quantifying hidden allergens in food products is thus essential to protect the food-allergic population, but this can only be accessible to the whole food industry if standardised control plans and affordable testing equipment is available to support a well-managed production process. It is therefore our objective to, on the one hand elaborate best practice guidelines as a reference procedure enabling the food producing companies (and their suppliers) to identify where and how many tests will be required to ensure proper labelling; and on the other hand, the industrialization of our innovative rapid and low-cost SaPher biosensing technology.
Built upon the Lab on a Chip (LoC) concept and nano-photonics technologies, SaPher biosensing allergen test platform can assess simultaneously and full automatically up to 6 different allergens in food matrices with a single cartridge, within 30 minutes and at a cost of only €35, being nearly 4 times cheaper and faster than existing alternatives. SaPher will provide a complete product line of 4 cartridges with different allergen detection configurations, targeting all the allergens of interest (11 out of the 14 main food allergens) of our target industries (i.e. meat, bakery and dairy, being these the largest in number and turnover, while having as a consortium readily a wide network of potential clients). Currently, a fully functional prototype of SaPher biosensing platform and cartridges have been demonstrated with real samples of the large-sized meat producing company Embutidos Martínez, validating the correct identification and quantification of allergen contents for Ovalbumin, Gliadin, β-Lactoglobulin and Casein proteins, reaching TRL6.
To successfully reach and unlock the existing food allergen testing market, we need to raise SaPher´s technology up to TRL9, ensuring to be ready to manufacture and supply SaPher according to the expected market demand. Hence, within the present project we will finalise the development of the full set of cartridges to cover the 11 food allergens of most interest for our target industries, industrialize and optimise our technology for mass production and demonstrate both technology and guidelines with the different target end-user industries under operational conditions. In addition, certification, commercial, organisational, marketing and industrial roll-out activities will be undertaken to ensure access and uptake of the food producing industries.
SaPher has advanced as schedule, with minor deviations mainly caused by the Covid19 pandemic. The activities performed during the first 18 months of the project are summarized here:
• At WP2 there have been identified the existing standardization activities linked to food allergen assessment and it has been elaborated a recommendation for required additional standards to be developed and validated. That information has been gathered in D2.1 and delivered at M12.
In this period WP2 tasks have been continued on the elaboration of a reference method for allergen contamination assessment.
• At WP3, it has been optimised PIC manufacturing process and this process has been transferred to and industrial procedure. That information has been gathered in D3.1 and delivered at M8. Besides, at WP3 final cartridge design has been released, which allows injection mould design and manufacturing. That information has been gathered in D3.2 and delivered at M19. Current injection mould allows 5.000-10.000 cartridge unites manufacturing. Next injection mould generation will allow 1.000.000 cartridge units manufacturing.

• At WP4, is has been developed PIC functionalization for almost all targeted allergens and that procedure has been transferred for industrial process for Gluten, Milk (Casein) and Soya. Development of antibodies against Fish, Mustard and Nuts (almond) is in progress.

• At WP5 there have been stated complete procedures for SaPher platform industrialization. That information has been gathered at D5.1 and D5.2 both delivered at M14.

• At WP7 is has been stablished complete SaPher project Dissemination and Communication Plan gathered at D7.1 and delivered at M03. There have been released updates on Communication and Promotion Materials gathered at D7.2 and delivered at M06, M12 and M18 (updated each 6 months). There have been released updates on Report on monitoring and evaluation of Dissemination and Communication Activities gathered at D7.3 and delivered at M06, M 12 and M18 (updated each 6 months). It has been stablished a Data Management Plant gathered at D7.4 and delivered at M06 (final version will be delivered at M21).
There have been stablished communication channels like SaPher project website, Sapher project Linkedin and Basecamp for consortium internal communication.
• At WP8 is has been started the development of a complete Exploitation and Business Plan. That information has been gathered at D8.1 and delivered at M18.

• WP9 takes care of any ethical aspect regarding on animal experiments. That issue references to INGE activities within SaPer project in the sense of antibodies production and animal immunization process. That information has been gathered at D9.1 and delivered at M12.
Categorised as immunological method, SaPher biosensing test platform will go beyond existing analytical techniques by being the first certified technology enabling to simultaneously and full automatically assess multiple food allergens with the highest sensitivity (μg/kg – ppb), and with no risk of cross-reactions generating false positives or negatives. In addition, since SaPher will not require an enzymatic label (additional reagents) to generate a measurable response, it will be introduced as a label-free detection technique, which contributes to be much cheaper and faster than existing alternatives. Available for all the allergens of interest needs of our targeted sectors, SaPher will provide testing results within 30 minutes, without the need of highly skilled personnel and at a market price of only 35€ per cartridge, being nearly 4 times cheaper than ELISA (for the same number of allergens). Our key differentiation is that we will deploy a cheap, fast, easy to use and accurate allergen analysis device that will enable to comply with the novel best practice guidelines, reshaping the way in which food producers tackle nowadays allergen management, providing the know-how, tools and confidence to accurately label allergen presence.
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