They were able to develop a sensor to detect food-borne contaminants

A team of international researchers received 750 thousand dollars for development and testing portable and fast biosensors capable of detecting contaminants such as norovirus and mycotoxins in food and agricultural products. Food scientists UMass Amherst and UK Engineers in Newcastle are among USDA’s first international partner grants.

Noroviruses are the leading cause of foodborne illness globally and are highly contagious, causing pandemics every few years. “People can get very sick from food that contains viruses and toxins,” he explained. Matthew Moore, assistant professor of food science.

We need a way to quickly and easily find out if the food contains these contaminants in an inexpensive but effective way, without the need to return to a special laboratory to perform tests. Constant.

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Early detection of contaminants

Las mycotoxins are toxic substances produced by fungi that can grow in warm, moist conditions on crops and foods, especially many grains, produce, nuts, seeds and spices. They represent an increasing threat to public health in light of climate change trends and increased consumption of plant-based foods.

One of the interesting things about mycotoxins as foodborne contaminants is that they are often not very acute, so you are less likely to notice them. Often the damage they do is more chronic, and will mess with the kidneys and liver in particular and can promote cancer,” Moore said.

Moore will work with a colleague of food science from UMass Amherst, John Gibbons, a fungi expert, and food science PhD candidate Sloane Stoufer in the Moore lab. The UMass team will collaborate with Senior Professor and Principal Investigator Marloes Peeters and Postdoctoral Research Associate Jake McClements at the University of Newcastle School of Engineering in England.

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