RIKILT has developed a technique to quickly and efficiently measure 12 different food allergens at the same time.
Even minute amounts of allergens in food can be life-threatening for allergic consumers. That is why food manufacturers are obliged to print allergy information on their product labels. So far, however, a serious shortage of adequate techniques has made it very difficult to detect the presence of allergens in food. Traditional methods are unable to simultaneously determine different allergens.
Antibodies on a sensor chip
Recent advances in Surface Plasmon Resonance (SPR) Technology for fast multi-analyte testing offer a promising way forward. SPR imaging is a new technique which uses micro-arrays from different antibodies on the surface of a sensor chip to detect multiple substances simultaneously and label-free. The newly developed test can detect twelve important allergens in cookies and chocolate at the same time and at detection levels relevant for legislation purposes. The twelve allergens are peanuts, hazelnuts, milk, egg, soy, almonds, lupin, pine-nuts, brazil nuts, macadamia nuts, cashew nuts and pistachio nuts. It takes around ten minutes to produce a quantitative allergenic fingerprint of the tested food.
Quick decisions about food safety
Such detailed information will facilitate decision-making on food quality and safety. The success was demonstrated by analysing supermarket cookies and chocolate with the new technique and comparing the results with those of a traditional method.
RIKILThas developed this test in cooperation with the Department of Physical Chemistry and Colloid Science, also part of Wageningen UR.