Submitted to: International Symposium of Mycotoxicology Meeting
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: November 5, 2003
Publication Date: N/A
Technical Abstract: Technologies for detection of mycotoxins developed rapidly when the connections were first made between these agents, produced by fungi, and disease in animals. Since that time, analytical technologies have steadily advanced and the new detection technologies have been rapidly incorporated into mycotoxin testing strategies. Detection of mycotoxins is necessary for many reasons. Testing is done to help protect human and animal health, to facilitate greater agricultural productivity, and to meet contract specifications for minimum acceptable levels in foods and feeds. For convenience, analytical methods can be subdivided into tests that can be performed rapidly by relatively untrained personnel (screening assays) and tests that require either more skill or more sophisticated instrumentation to perform (laboratory assays). Historically the screening assays have evolved from assays that were initially laboratory-based. Widely used screening assays include enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays (ELISAs), rapid cleanup columns combined with fluorescence detection, and thin layer chromatography. Widely used laboratory methods are predominantly chromatographic methods, including high performance liquid chromatography and gas chromatography. Despite the considerable advantages of the chromatographic techniques, most remain laboratory-based assays because they require considerable skill and/or instrumentation to operate. Immunoassays, which rely upon the specificity of antibodies to bind target analytes, remain very popular because of the ease with which they can be performed. However, the low molecular weight of most mycotoxins (less than 1,000 daltons) somewhat restricts the immunoassay formats that can be used for their detection. This restriction can also be a factor in the development of biosensors based upon antibodies (immunosensors). A large number of antibody-based devices have been tested recently for detection of mycotoxins. The technologies that have been tested include evanescent wave-based devices such as fiber-optic immunosensors and surface plasmon resonance sensors. Portable sensors that use antibody or antigen-coated microbeads in miniature versions of affinity columns have also been developed as have similar technologies using liposomes containing fluorophores (flow injection liposome immunoassays). Other technologies using antibodies have been affinity-based capillary electrophoresis, and fluorescence polarization. This review will summarize the progress that has been made with each of these formats, highlighting those technologies that appear to have the potential to make the transition from laboratory-based assays to screening assays.