EU legislation regarding the quality of food is becoming stricter to ensure that monitoring takes place for animal residues, chemicals, pathogens or toxins. To assist in this, the EU-funded 'Improved food safety monitoring through enhanced imaging nanoplasmonics' (IMPRESS) is developing a portable sensor device. One of the main advantages of the IMPRESSOR system is its low cost, allowing its use by any enterprise that produces or distributes food. Also, it will facilitate the measurement of multiple contaminants in a single sample within 15 minutes. The device consists of a disposable biochip customised to detect various parameters related to the quality of the food such as allergens or toxins. This is coupled to nanoplasmonic electronic reading system for the analysis and evaluation of results. During the first period of the project, researchers have concentrated on the development of model immunoassays to detect gentamicin, bovine casein, peanut, hazelnoot, egg and soy in food products. They have also developed peptide targets for each food allergen and incorporated them as sensing probes in the biochip consumable. The multiplexed biochips and various monoclonal antibodies in combination with the prototype IMPRESSOR biosensor device are undergoing thorough testing with different food matrices. Optimisation of fluidics , other hardware and software parameters are underway to improve the overall performance of the sensor. Project partners with complementary expertise on biosensor development, peptide synthesis and food safety control joined forces to achieve the goals of the study. Adoption of the system by the industry and public regulatory bodies will affordably speed up food monitoring and improve the overall quality of food products.
Food quality, monitoring, device, biochip, allergen, toxin, immunoassay, gentamycin, bovine casein, peptide