Rapid Detection of Food Allergens by Optical Biosensor

Rapid Detection of Food Allergens by Microfluidics ELISA Based Optical Biosensor

The risks associated with the presence of hidden allergens in food have increased the need for rapid, sensitive, and reliable methods for tracing food allergens in commodities. Conventional enzyme immunosorbent assay (ELISA) has usually been performed in a centralized lab, requiring considerable time and sample/reagent consumption and expensive detection instruments. In this study, a microfluidic ELISA platform combined with a custom-designed optical sensor was developed for the quantitative analysis of the proteins wheat gluten and Ara h 1. The developed microfluidic ELISA biosensor reduced the total assay time from hours (up to 3.5 h) to 15–20 min and decreased sample/reagent consumption to 5–10 μL, compared to a few hundred microliters in commercial ELISA kits, with superior sensitivity. The quantitative capability of the presented biosensor is a distinctive advantage over the commercially available rapid methods such as lateral flow devices (LFD) and dipstick tests. The developed microfluidic biosensor demonstrates the potential for sensitive and less-expensive on-site determination for rapidly detecting food allergens in a complex sample system.

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Bionanotechnology Laboratory
Suresh Neethirajan

School of Engineering
University of Guelph
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