Development and Application of an Optical Biosensor Immunoassay for Aflatoxin M1 in Bovine Milk


An automated optical biosensor-based immunoassay exploiting surface plasmon resonance detection for the quantitation of aflatoxin M1 (AFM1) in milk and milk powders is described. A monoclonal antibody and an immobilized protein–AFM1 conjugate are utilized in a simple inhibition format following aqueous extraction and immunoaffinity clean-up of the sample, thereby avoiding the need for signal amplification techniques. The sensor surface is stable over multiple regeneration cycles, and the technique yields a method detection limit of 0.1 ng g−1, which is five times lower than the European Commission maximum residue limit. The described antibody-based biosensor technique provides the advantages of quantitative data, automation, and real-time and non-labeled detection of AFM1. The method therefore facilitates routine quantitative threshold-level screening for the identification of potential non-compliance of AFM1 content prior to confirmatory analysis by reference chromatographic methods and may be considered to complement the enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay technique.

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The authors acknowledge Dr. Terry Cooney (Analytica Laboratories Ltd., Hamilton, New Zealand) for LC–tandem mass spectrometry analyses and the support and encouragement of Dr. Robert Crawford and Fonterra Co-operative Group Ltd. throughout this study.

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Correspondence to Harvey E. Indyk.

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Harvey Indyk declares that he has no conflict of interest. Sowmya Chetikam declares that she has no conflict of interest. Brendon Gill declares that he has no conflict of interest. Jackie Wood declares that she has no conflict of interest. David Woollard declares that he has no conflict of interest.

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Indyk, H.E., Chetikam, S., Gill, B.D. et al. Development and Application of an Optical Biosensor Immunoassay for Aflatoxin M1 in Bovine Milk. Food Anal. Methods 12, 2630–2637 (2019).

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  • Aflatoxin M1
  • Milk
  • Biosensor
  • Surface plasmon resonance
  • Immunoassay