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Development of a food allergen bionanosensor - a citizen science approach


   School of Biological Sciences

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  Prof K Campbell, Prof Dimitrios Lamprou  Applications accepted all year round  Self-Funded PhD Students Only

About the Project

The overall aim of the project is the design, construction and implementation of a multi-channel microfluidic bionanosensor for the multiplex analysis of food allergens. There are three key phases in this research project: Design phase, Construction Phase and Implementation of the bionanosensor for determining food allergens in food products as a citizen science approach.

In the last two years Covid 19 has by default shown not only scientists but the whole global population the necessity for rapid methods of analysis to be able to combat against disease in particular. Though this is not the only area whereby rapid methods can prove useful in their application. Point of site or point of care testing with real time analysis can be vital for decision making for clinicians, virologists, microbiologists, regulatory analysts, food producers and citizen science in an environment to farm to fork approach. The designed simplicity of these tests as in the COVID lateral flow test allows novice end users such as food business operators to implement rapid tests as a measure of assurance that the environment in which we produce our food is free from contamination to ensure food safety for improved food security and sustainability within the supply chain. Due to increasing legislation food allergens are a major concern for the food industry and whereby improved point of site methods of analysis are increasing sought to prevent precautionary labelling on all food products. Precautionary labelling is also then a challenge for the allergic susceptible consumer in knowing what is safe to consume. A simple testing device is still required for consumers to monitor allergens in food products.

The overall aim of the project is the design, construction and implementation of a multi-channel microfluidic nanosensor for multiplex analysis of food allergens. There are three key phases in this research project: Design phase of the bionanosensor, Construction Phase, and Implementation of the bionanosensor for determining food allergens in food products as a citizen science approach. The design phase of the sensor will include selection of target allergens and food products in which those allergens are important. A multiplex lab-on-a-chip will be designed. The construction phase will investigate the most suitable microfluidic design and portable detection system including smartphones for the lab-on-a-chip device. The implementation phase will be the validation of the device for determining food allergens in food products as both a lab-based tool and as a citizen science approach.

Start Date: October 2022

Duration: 3 years

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