Microbial contamination of foods can currently only be detected using complex analytical methods in a laboratory. And it often takes days before a final result is obtained – valuable time during which the undetected contamination could do extensive damage. The research project “PhoTox – Single photon detector for on-site detection of bacterial toxins in food using chemiluminescence immunoassays” with the participation of R-Biopharm aims to change that. The outcome should be a rapid, handy, and reliable point-of-care testing.
This project combines immunological toxin detection with a photon detection method. After binding to toxins, modified antibodies generate a light signal. The compact analysis platform is to take advantage of this fact, register single light particles with sensitive photo detectors, and show contamination with the respective toxin on a display.
Six partners are cooperating in the project funded by Germany’s Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) with around 2.6 million euros. The partners combine their know-how in the development of immunological detection methods and photon measurement procedures with experience in the design of reaction cartridges and the manufacture of compact detection devices. At R-Biopharm, we are involved in developing the immunological detection method under the direction of Dr. Tobias Wittwer and are providing the necessary antibodies and toxins to be detected.
The other project partners:
- BYTEC Medizintechnik GmbH – project coordination and development of the analysis platform
- Fraunhofer Institute for Microengineering and Microsystems IMM – development of the reaction cartridge for sample preparation
- Fraunhofer Institute for Microelectronic Circuits and Systems IMS – development of the photon detection method
- Justus Liebig University Gießen – provision of sample material and system testing
- Ernst Rittinghaus GmbH – plastics manufacturer, involved in the development of the reaction cartridge and later production
- Milchprüfring Bayern (Bavarian Association for Raw Milk Testing) and Milchindustrieverband (the Association of the German Dairy Industry) – associated partners that will test the system at the end of the project