The overall objective of this precompetitive project is to develop biosensor technology that can be applied to the detection of antibiotic residues in milk. It will involve the development of prototype biosensors for the multi-detection of antibiotics, including sulfonamides. This will be achieved in a highly innovative way by the joint exploitation of technologies in the unrelated fields of immunology, integrated optical microtechnology and computer software engineering.
To overcome the problem of sensor life-time it will be designed to have a cheap and disposable probe that can be easily replaced after coming into contact with an antibiotic.
The resultant technology should be applicable to laboratory instruments for detecting antibiotics in milk and also to systems to detect milk contaminated with antibiotics in-line at the farm and processing dairy. As a model, the prototype biosensor will be developed to detect some groups of the more frequently found antibiotics (aminoglycosides, 3-lactams, sulfonamides and tetracyclines) that contaminate milk. This will be achieved by first synthesising the appropriate conjugates and then producing generic monoclonal and recombinant antibodies (for aminoglycosides only). By employing generic antibodies, it will be possible to detect all the related antibiotics in each major group of antibiotics. The antibodies produced will be validated to determine their specificity and sensitivity. Using proven techniques, the antibodies will then be covalently attached by photo-linking to the waveguide of the optical signal transducing layer of the biosensor. The performance of the prototype biosensor will be evaluated in comparison with chemical methods for analysing antibiotics in milk to determine its sensitivity, specificity and durability. Once the potential of the biosensor has been established, it will be adapted to an inline milking unit at a dairy farm and its response to milk from cows treated with antibiotics will be monitored. Computer software will be developed that will interpret the signal given by the biosensor enabling the presence of contaminated milk to be recognised and contaminated milk to be automatically segregated. The prototype biosensor will also be evaluated for use in a quality control laboratory at a commercial dairy in parallel with existing methods for detecting antibiotics in milk. Its response in both samples of milk that give positive and negative results for antibiotic residues will be validated by chemical analysis.
On completion of the project, it is anticipated that it will be possible for some of the partners to exploit the technology by developing the prototype to detect other groups of antibiotics and incorporating the biosensor into in-line systems and laboratory instruments.
Funding SchemeCSC - Cost-sharing contracts
6700 AA Wageningen
SL3 7HJ Slough