Main Goals

The analytical control of food contaminants implies, in an industrial context, the use of robust and highly sensitive methodologies, capable of providing reliable results in a short time. Thus, there is a need to develop portable ultrasensitive sensors that not only facilitate the automation of tests and their integration within the monitoring systems of the food industry, but also allow the detection and / or quantification with rapid performance, avoiding an extended period waiting, characteristic of some conventional techniques. Ideally, sensor-based devices should have high levels of reliability, selectivity and specificity, be reusable and inexpensive. The objective of this activity is the development of miniaturized "lab-on-a-chip" sensors for real-time, point-of-care, sensitive, fast and portable analysis, which allow the detection of different analytes or microorganisms through the application enabling technologies (KETs) such as nanotechnology. trace In this context, there is a need to develop ultrasensitive portable sensors that not only facilitate the automation of tests and their integration within the monitoring systems of the food industry, but that also allow the detection and / or quantification in short times allowing a quick performance without needing a waiting period like some conventional techniques. There is also a need for large sensors reliability, selectivity, specificity, reusable and low cost. The objective of this Activity is the development of miniaturized sensors "lab-on-a-chip" for real-time analysis (point-of-care), sensitive, fast and portable, which allow the detection of different analytes or microorganisms through the application of enabling technologies (KETs) like nanotechnology. For this purpose, the development of different Actions is proposed based on the analytes of interest.

Strategies

It is proposed to develop different actions based on the different contaminants of interest. The sensors to be developed are based on 3 different analytical approaches and, once completed, will be integrated into prototypes that will be evaluated in real conditions.
1. Sensors based on surface augmented Raman dispersion spectroscopy (SERS)
It is a very sensitive analytical technique, based on the increase in the Raman signal experienced by a molecule due to the coupling of its vibrational mode with the electric field generated by a metallic nanostructure, usually of gold or silver, by excitation with appropriate energy light. The objective of this action will be the design of sensors based on SERS for the indirect detection of Listeria biofilms.
2. Quantum dots based sensors (QDs)
The fluorescence of QDs and their easy functionalization make them excellent candidates for the manufacture of highly sensitive and highly specific sensors. The strategy involves the development of chemosensors based on QDs in solution or immobilized on solid supports for the detection of allergens and mycotoxins.
3. LoC sensors based on flow cytometry
A sensor is proposed for the analysis of phytoplankton that will be based on a flow cytometry system based on microfluidics. The chip will be manufactured using smooth lithography techniques with high resolution that will allow the flow of phytoplankton in the microchannels. This technique has unique advantages compared to other lithographic techniques, such as low cost, versatility, biocompatibility, etc. The detection system will include a light source, a CMOS photodetector, optical filters, allowing transmittance and fluorescence measurements. All electronics for controlling the various elements such as D / A and D / A converters will also be developed, as well as all the necessary software. The "chip" will include micro-pumps and valves to ensure a real-time, reliable and safe measurement system.


Expected Results

The development of fast, automated and reliable solutions for the detection of different types of contaminants will result in an enormous benefit for the agro-food industry and for the regulatory bodies. It makes preventive actions possible regarding the use of defective raw materials, which will lead to important impacts at the economic level and in terms of guaranteeing consumer safety.
It is expected that the developed technologies will be patented and commercialized in a way that guarantees the widespread use of this technology by the majority of cross-border companies in the food sector.