Scientists in the Netherlands have joined forces with a private company to develop a nano-level chip to detect mycotoxins in food.
The outcome could be a more precise method of detecting food pathogens during the processing of plant material.
With the increasing emphasis by consumers and regulators on food safety, and the prospect of costly recalls, fines and brand damage, processors are constantly on the lookout for quicker and cheaperways of preventing bacterial contamination of their products.
More and more companies have responded to the demand by developing faster and more accurate alternatives.
Plant Research International, part of Wageningen University, Research Centre in the Netherlands and CatchMabs said they would study ways to apply the company's iMab technology to detect themycotoxins.
CatchMabs develops 'industrial Molecular Affinity Bodies' (iMabs), which are proteins capable of making specific and exceptionally strong combinations of defined molecules.
The proteins are produced in other microorganisms such as E. coli, allowing them to bind to specific molecules. This allows the target molecule, such as a pathogen, to be identified.
iMabs are very stable proteins and can be used under extreme conditions in detecting food and plant pathogens in plant material.
The researchers will attempt to apply the iMaps technology at the nano-level. Nanosciences and nanotechnologies are new approaches to research and development that concern the study of phenomenaand manipulation of materials at atomic, molecular and macromolecular scales, where properties differ significantly from those at a larger scale.
Plant Research International is involved in the EU project 'eBiosense'. The project's goal is to develop a computerised sensing 'chip' that can be used for the fast detection of bothmycotoxins and pathogens in food.
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