In order to ensure and maintain a high standard of quality of the products on the market, the European food industry must comply with stringent regulations. Often the quality control of a particular food product is obtained through the measurement of a number of chemical parameters which must be monitored, either to follow a production process or to detect deterioration of the product itself during storage or handling. The main objective of this project is to develop a biosensor based meter for the measurement of a number of key chemical components in food products.
One of the main disadvantages in using amperometric biosensors for specific analyses in complex, heterogeneous media is the progressive loss of activity of the enzyme electrode surface. This generally results in the deterioration of the sensitivity of the sensor and in poor repeatablility and reproducibility of the measurements. In the technology proposed in this project, the biosensor contains the active enzyme throughout the bulk or mass of the electrode and not just on its surface. A new active electrode surface is simply obtained by scraping or polishing. The active surface remains identical which improves the repeatability and reproducibility of the analyses. In addition to its use in batch measurements, this technology also lends itself to in-flow conditions, which opens the way to a faster, automatic measuring device which can be installed on the production site and used by unskilled operators. A further constraint which must be taken into account in the production of a commercially-viable biosensor is its long term stability or shelf-life. The project will explore a number of methodologies including the stabilisation of the enzymes used for the fabrication of biosensors using existing technology (combinations of polyelectrolytes and sugar alcohols added to carbon pastes) and the stability of enzymes in the organic phase of the pasting liquid. To illustrate and test the applications of the biosensors produced, the project will focus on a number of key analytes of interest to the fruit juice and dairy industries:
- sucrose, glucose, fructose, ascorbic acid, amino acids, ethanol - lactose, lactic acid
The consortium brings together a mixture of industrial know-how and academic expertise. The development of the biosensor technology will be undertaken by a company specialising in the manufacture of biosensor equipment (Bioselective Instruments Europe - BIOSIS) and another whose main activity is the development of speciality enzymes (Applied Enzyme Technology Ltd.). Academic input into the research phase will be through the Universities of Nantes in France and Lund in Sweden.
The participation of potential end users of the instrument is also envisaged. Testing of the biosensors will be carried out in "'real" situations: in an analytical laboratory specialising in fruit juice analysis (France), a dairy research institute (Italy) and a major dairy company (Ireland). As a producer of dairy desserts and yoghurts containing fruit preparations, the latter has an interest in both the fruit and the dairy applications of the biosensor. KEYWORDS(maxlO): A08, B38,B21, B29, C03, D58, D21, E14, E16, E20
Funding SchemeCSC - Cost-sharing contracts
LS2 3AR Leeds
20075 Lodi Milano
221 00 Lund