Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

New high-speed pesticide sensor

An EU research project has produced a bioelectrical cell-based sensor for rapid detection of pesticides and specific organic contaminants in fresh produce, cork and wine.
New high-speed pesticide sensor
In recent years, Europe has introduced increasingly stringent regulations on food production quality, despite the high time and financial costs of testing. A screening system is urgently required that can rapidly and cost-efficiently test foods for pesticides and other organic contaminants.

The EU-funded FOODSCAN (Development of an automated, novel biosensor platform for pesticide residue detection) project aimed to develop a biosensor to detect traces of pesticides. The system is based on the Bioelectric Recognition Assay (BERA) technology, which essentially combines living cells with an electrical sensor system for rapid and sensitive detection.

FOODSCAN built an automated platform based on BERA technology that can detect a number of pesticides and other contaminants in less than three minutes. This early prototype can detect a number of organophosphate and carbamate pesticides, several classes of herbicide and a number of wine & cork contaminants.

Project researchers carefully validated (by employing a global independent lab network) and tested every component of the sensor platform, which is rapid, portable, cheap and user friendly. They also built an electronic interface for facilitating ease of use during real-time analysis of foods.

The FOODSCAN high-throughput prototype is now ready to be commercialised. Once this happens, FOODSCAN will greatly improve food safety and help European farmers remain competitive in the face of stringent regulations.

Related information


Pesticides, contaminants, fresh produce, biosensor, Bioelectric Recognition Assay
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