Reactive strip developed to quickly and easily detect and quantify allergens in food

A reactive strip has been developed to detect and quantify allergens in food quickly and easily

Testing the strip. Credit: UPV

A team from the Universitat Politècnica de València (UPV), the Universitat de València (UV) and the Centro de Investigación Biomédica en Red sobre Enfermedades Raras (CIBERER) has developed a lateral flow test that reliably identifies and quantifies the level of allergens in food using a smartphone. The work is published in the journal Biosensors.

“Food allergy or hypersensitivity is estimated to affect around 520 million people worldwide. These reactions occur mainly through the consumption of foods containing spore allergens. Therefore, it is important to identify and quantify them before the food is consumed, and this is what the test we have developed allows,” says Sergi Morais, professor at the Department of Chemistry at the Universitat Politècnica de València and researcher at the Inter-University Institute of Molecular Recognition and Technological Development (IDM).

The prototype has been developed as a proof of concept for the simultaneous detection of almond and peanut allergens and has been validated with everyday commercial foods such as biscuits and energy bars.

Among the advantages, the researchers highlight the reliability of the test, which contains several internal controls and calibrators integrated into a miniaturized 36-point array.

“With microarray technology, we perform 36 analyzes in a single step. The derived information allows us to identify whether the result is a true positive or negative. In addition, with the internal calibrators and the smartphone, we can quantify with high precision traces of allergen in the food,” says Ángel Maquieira, professor at the Department of Chemistry at the Universitat Politècnica de València.

Regarding the extraction method, the UPV, UV and CIBERER team emphasize its simplicity, which means that anyone can perform it at any time.

“Current extraction methods consist of several steps and require sophisticated equipment for grinding, degreasing, extraction and purification of allergens. Therefore, the analysis is carried out in qualified laboratories. The aim is to decentralize the analysis, as has been done with the COVID-19. -19 test. We want that everyone should be able to analyze a food just before eating it, adds Sergi Morais.

The extraction method developed is based on the use of a portable grinder, which is used to grind and filter the sample in a single step; 5 mL of a solution is then added to extract the allergen, and when the sample is prepared, the test strip is lowered into the solution. And in just 5 minutes the result is obtained, which can be read with a mobile phone.

“At an estimated cost of €1 per strip, the developed test has great commercial potential, for example in the food sector for rapid identification of allergens in situ and in the pharmaceutical sector to quantify the potency of allergenic extracts used in allergy testing,” says Amadeo Sena, a postdoctoral fellow at the Inter-University Institute for Molecular Recognition and Technological Development (IDM).

Future development

Looking to the future, the UPV, UV and CIBERER team points out that, given the properties of the test strip, it can be easily adapted for other allergens, as the group has specific antibodies for a wide range of allergens and biomarkers.

“Our challenge is to develop a test for the simultaneous quantification of the 14 allergens that must be declared according to Royal Resolution 126/2015,” concludes Patricia Casino, a researcher at the Instituto Universitario de Biotecnología i Biomedicina (BIOTECMED)—Universitat de València and CIBEREREN .

More information:
Amadeo Sena-Torralba et al, Lateral Flow Microimmunoassay (LFµIA) for reliable quantification of allergen traces in foods, Biosensors (2022). DOI: 10.3390/bios12110980

Provided by the Universitat Politècnica de València

Citation: Reactive strip developed to quickly and easily detect and quantify allergens in foods (2022, December 23) Retrieved December 25, 2022, from allergens.html

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