Service Communautaire d'Information sur la Recherche et le Développement - CORDIS

Final Report Summary - BIOCOP (New technologies to screen multiple chemical contaminants in food)

The BIOCOP project was constructed to supply regulators, consumers and industry with long-term solutions to the complex problems associated with chemical contaminants. A range of new technologies such as transcriptomics, proteomics and biosensors was utilised within the project, measuring effect rather than single target compound concentrations. The biomarker and fingerprinting concept was key to this strategy.

Chemical contaminant monitoring in foodstuffs is a highly important and complex issue. A huge investment in time and effort is placed on these activities by regulatory and industrial laboratories. As demands from consumers and regulators grow to improve the quality and safety of food the need for improved technologies has never been greater.

The main objectives of the project were to:
1. strengthen the ERA relating to substantial improvements in chemical contaminant monitoring in foods;
2. radically improve the ability to monitor for many classes of chemical contaminants present in cereals, meats, seafood and processed foods, to meet European Maximum residue level (MRL) targets and / or agreed international standards where no MRLs presently exist;
3. improve and validate physico-chemical detection methods to fulfil recognised criteria, thus being accepted for enforcement purposes;
4. provide extensive training and demonstration of newly developed monitoring methods to the full array of potential end-users (industrial and governmental) to advance technology exploitation by industrial partners;
5. increase level of trust of the European consumer in the food supply chain.

The project was organised into 13 Work packages (WPs).WPs 1 - 4 dealt with developing and delivering platform technologies across the consortium. WPs 5 - 10 each dealt with a different class of chemical contaminants. The final three WPs, 11, 12 and 13 were responsible for organising the widespread training and dissemination activities. The final WP dealt with the many management activities required to keep a large research project on course.

The following summarises some of the key exploitable results emanating from the project, as grouped within the respective work packages:

- Proof of concept that the transcriptomics fingerprinting strategy is applicable for the detection of phytoestrogens and trichothescenes in baby food, soy milk, cow milk and cereals.
- Development of a low cost high-throughput transcriptomic platform.

- Production and supply (to project partners) of multi-analyte SPR biosensor for high-throughput detection of therapeutic drug biomarkers in serum;
- Prototype kits available for SPR-based PSP and fluoroquinolone assays.

- Production of high quality and broad specificity antibodies.

Shellfish toxins:
- Development of an optical biosensor assay for routine use in PSP toxin determination in shellfish.

- Development of alternative effective rapid screening technologies (DART and ASAP) based on ambient ionisation mass spectrometry, to detect residues of pesticides.

Endocrine disruptors:
- Development of efficient confirmatory methods for analysing at least four target phytoestrogens in milk, cereal and baby food samples.

- Development of a fully validated prototype biosensor assay for fluoroquinolone antibiotics in chicken, egg and fish.
Heavy metals:
- Developed rapid, low cost, improved methods suitable for use by unskilled personnel.

- Development of novel methodologies for early detection of mycotoxins.
- SOPs completed: In-house validation completed, further testing conducted in subsequent Sixth Framework Programme (FP6) / Seventh Framework Programme (FP7) projects.

Project results have been widely disseminated to various audiences (scientists, regulators, industry representatives and consumer groups). Publications have also resulted from the research.

Informations connexes

Reported by

United Kingdom


Food - Safety