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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: Optical Detection of Food Safety and Food Defense Hazards

Location: Quality and Safety Assessment Research Unit

Title: Food toxin detection with atomic force microscope

Authors
item Chen, Guojun -
item Park, Bosoon
item Xu, Bingqian -

Submitted to: ACS Book Series: Advances in Applied Nanotechnology for Agriculture
Publication Type: Book / Chapter
Publication Acceptance Date: July 19, 2013
Publication Date: September 25, 2013
Citation: Chen, G., Park, B., Xu, B. 2013. Food toxin detection with atomic force microscope. ACS Book Series 1143: Advances in Applied Nanotechnology for Agriculture. 7:125-143. DOI:10.1021/bk-2013-1143-ch007.

Interpretive Summary: Food safety is a very important issue for daily life. Although applications of food toxin detection based on atomic force microscope (AFM) still faces many difficulties, the super sensitivity and easy user accessibility of these techniques are very attractive to develop new detection methods for food toxins. The results from initial studies with pure samples for food toxin detection with nanotechnology are very encouraging. However, intensive research needs to be carried out with real samples in food matrix, because real samples can reveal limitations for practical application of this technology. Food toxin detection with AFM can benefit from advances in basic science in the areas of new chemistry schemes, more powerful sensing modulus, better antibody selection, and improvement of functionalized substrate. AFM-based food toxin detection method will become important complementary techniques for current culture-based detection methods for the food industry.

Technical Abstract: Externally introduced toxins or internal spoilage correlated pathogens and their metabolites are all potential sources of food toxins. To prevent and protect unsafe food, many food toxin detection techniques have been developed to detect various toxins for quality control. Although several routine methods address the important food safety issues, many challenges still exist in terms of sensitivity, cost and speed, especially for lethal proteinaceous toxins. Atomic force microscope (AFM) has a potential for nano-scale imaging or as a force measurement tool for biophysics and molecular biology. Its sensitivity in probing specific binding interactions between molecules is also applicable for food toxin detection. AFM-based detection methods with a functionalized cantilever and recognition image techniques were demonstrated for silicon and metal surface. Furthermore, recent progress in various aspects of AFM-based sensing technique for food toxin detection was discussed. Although the sensitivity and accessibility make the AFM techniques good candidates for toxin detection, the challenges of AFM techniques exist for chemical scheme strategies, sensing modulus and substrate development. Through the mutual advances in several scientific disciplines including materials, chemistry and molecular biology, AFM-based food toxin detection methods can be expanded to broad applications.

Last Modified: 10/30/2014
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