"Our research efforts will lead to the development of a small, portable, user-friendly detection device for regulatory agency representatives and other interested parties to quickly track food products having pesticide residues that exceed the legal limit."

Portable biosensor for rapid and ultra-sensitive identification of organophoshorous foodborne contaminants

Investigator: Lia Stanciu

Project Report 2008 - 2009

» Download Project Report 2008 - 2009

Project Rationale

Pesticides present serious risks to the environment, food supply, and public health due to their acute toxicity, potential carcinogenic effects, and mutagenic activities. Among pesticides, organophosphorus (OP) and carbamate (CB) compounds are the most used, representing 40 percent of the world's pesticide market. These compounds are currently detected using elaborate reference analytical methods which are sensitive and reliable, but expensive, time-consuming, and ineffective at determining the pesticides' toxic effects. Furthermore, their use is ineffective in situations when unpredictable contamination could suddenly appear in the environment and/or food supply. In such situations, general screening of samples using time-effective, low-cost, user-friendly devices would be a better strategy to detect toxicity. Our project employs this general strategy by using enzymes as biosensors that respond to the presence of OP and CB and signal if any enzymes in the sample are affected by these contaminants.

Project Objectives

  • Establish the effect of immobilization on AChE and the need and feasibility of using an oxidation strategy for phosphorothionates.
  • Fabricate and characterize the AChE biosensor by immobilizing the enzyme onto the surface of single-use screen-printing electrodes. Study enzyme stability and leaching.
  • Detect pesticides. Obtain calibration plots of the inhibitory degree upon application of various concentrations of pesticides. Determine the detection limit, response time, and linear concentration range for selected pesticides.

Project Highlights

Our research efforts will lead to the development of a small, portable, user-friendly detection device for regulatory agency representatives and other interested parties to quickly track food products having pesticide residues that exceed the legal limit. This proposed biosensor would accelerate the testing procedure and provide useful screening results, even before a sample is sent to a central laboratory for testing; reduce analysis costs; increase the number of samples tested and screened near the field, and ultimately; increase food safety. Specifically, the proposed biosensor would detect and screen for OP pesticide residues using a simple-to-use streamlined method.

Annual Reports

Investigator

  • Lia Stanciu