New Sensor System Detects Dangerous Mycotoxins in Wheat
Toxic mycotoxins, which are produced by molds, contaminate approximately 25% of global food crop production, and early detection is critical for food safety and human and livestock health.
To accelerate the detection process, the EU-funded MYCOHUNT project developed a rapid biosensor for deoxynivalenol (DON) – the most commonly found mycotoxin in wheat.
Traditional methods of detection are usually performed off-site and rely on human sampling of the wheat grain, which leaves room for human error. The MYCOHUNT system uses sensors that automatically collect samples of the wheat grain dust from each lot of grain delivered to a processing facility and tests it using a highly sensitive biosensor that uses highly developed DON-detecting antibodies. And while traditional testing methods can take days, the MYCOHUNT system provides results within 20 to 30 minutes depending on the amount of wheat being tested.
Laboratory and field testing on the system have been conducted with positive results, however additional tests are required before the system is finalized for commercialization. The team is hoping to be able to introduce an industrial unit to the market within two years of the project’s completion.