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Imprinted polymers as biosensors fro the detection of mycotoxins

Food contamination refers to foods that are spoiled or tainted for the presence of microorganisms, such as bacteria or parasites, or toxic substances, that make them unfit for consumption. Food contamination can be microbial or environmental, with the former being more common. Environmental contaminants, that can enter the food supply chain, include pesticides, heavy metals, and other chemical agent.

Food contamination is a very serious issue which results in foodborne diseases that can cause mild and dangerous illnesses, but also that can lead also to death.

For instance, Citrinin (figure 1), a mycotoxin originally isolated from Penicillium citrinum acts as a nephrotoxin in all species in which it has been tested, but its acute toxicity varies. It causes mycotoxic nephropathy in livestock and has been implicated as a cause of Balkan nephropathy and yellow rice fever in humans. [1-2]

Figure 1
Figure 1: structure of Citrinin and of 2-OH-naphtoic acid

Our research is focused on the development of imprinted nanogels that can be used as valuable sensor for the detection of the lowest possible concentration of Citrinin in a contaminated sample.

References
1. Nguyen, MT. et al.. Food Chemistry, 2007, 105, 42-47
2. Bennett, J. et al.. Clinical Microbiology Reviews. 200316, 497–516


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