PHOBIOSENS: rapid detection of antibiotics in milk using photonic biosensors

Bison code: L.28284

Accurate and rapid detection of contaminants in food products is necessary, but often cumbersome and a technically complex process. Current gold standard methods are typically based on highly specific, but expensive lab techniques, which are able to detect contaminants in different complex samples. Rapid and affordable alternative methods, mostly based on dipstick tests, are not accurate enough and can detect only one parameter/analyte. The recent fibronil affair illustrates that, despite the technological advances in detection technology, there is still a need for low-cost, fast and reliable tests for routine screening of food products.

The dairy industry is very interested in a rapid, easy-to-use and affordable method for detection of contaminants such as antibiotics and bacteria in milk, whey and baby fooding since currently available detection methods are expensive and very time- and labor-intensive. It typically takes several hours to a number of days before reliable results can be obtained. A faster analysis of the milk can contribute to savings of costs that are currently being made by destroying large quantities of contaminated milk due to delaying of test results. Obtaining results in a shorter time also allows a faster release for distribution of dairy products and this directly contributes to savings on operational costs.

In this project, we are working in collaboration with several SME-partners for the realization of a table-top/portable demonstrator for rapid and accurate detection of antibiotics in milk, based on a multichannel photonic sensor prototype. Various innovative technologies, including lab-on-a-chip, microfluidics, inkjet-printing and integrated photonic sensors will be integrated into this demonstrator to achieve the set goal. The portable detector will be a first step towards the realization of a handheld device, which will enable rapid and reliable detection of antibiotics in milk at the point-of-need settings, such as dairy farms and factories.

In this project you will be contributing to the development of a portable demonstrator based on existing photonic biosensor prototypes. The developed demonstrator, consisting of a Lab-on-a-Chip system and a read-out detector, will first be tested with standard/spiked samples. Next, it will be calibrated and validated with complex samples, e.g. whey/milk, and finally benchmarked with gold standard methods. Furthermore, it will be investigated how this portable demonstrator can be applied for rapid antibiotics detection at point-of-need settings such as dairy farms.

Cluster: Nano Sensoring