→ Project reference: AICO/2018/111
The presence of chemical contaminants in food is one of the food risks that raises most concern among consumers. Among the potentially present substances, mycotoxins, toxic secondary metabolites produced by fungi that infect crops, represent a serious problem for human health. One of the most relevant mycotoxins due to its prevalence in food and its high toxicity is ochratoxin A (OTA). This mycotoxin is mainly produced by fungi belonging to the Aspergillus and Penicillium genera, and has been classified as a possible carcinogen in humans (group 2B) by the International Agency for Research on Cancer. Among the foods where OTA contamination is more frequent, wine is, after cereals, the most relevant product.
The objective of the project is to develop an immunodiagnostic test that allows quick, simple, in situ and economical analysis of the presence of OTA in wines. The analytical device to be developed is an immunoassay by lateral flow chromatography, a methodology that is also known as immunoreactive strips. These tests, identical in their principle of operation to pregnancy tests, allow to determine the presence of an analyte in a sample without purification in less than 10 minutes, and without the need for special equipment or qualified technical personnel. Consequently, these simple devices would make available to companies in the wine sector a reliable analytical tool to be able to control in the wineries themselves whether a must destined for winemaking, or the wine itself at the end of the elaboration process, complies with the European regulations on food safety on mycotoxins.