NSTI Nanotech 2009

Quantitation of Toxins in Foods by Rapid Nanophotonic Molecular Screening Systems

K.C. Weng, J.-P. Coppe, R. Yang, J. Zheng, H. Yao, G.L. Liu, F.F. Chen
Dynamic Throughput, Inc., US

Keywords: nanophotonics, surface-enhanced Raman scattering (SERS), food toxins, melamine, high-throughput screening


Recent outbreak of melamine contamination in foods and diary products from China presents a serious threat to consumer health and caused measurable economic loss. The incidents suggest the importance of improving both the regulatory process and testing protocols. A simple and automated method for melamine detection and analysis may provide many agencies with efficient and accurate evaluations of safety issues related to melamine and other toxins. We recently developed an integrated molecular screening system based on nano-patterned surface-enhanced Raman scattering probes. Raman spectroscopy is a label-free method desired for biomolecule detection because it acquires the vibrational signatures of each molecule. To simplify handling, we have developed a simple chip design which provides a mechanism for chemical specificity and Raman enhancement in a microfluidic chamber. The chip also provides multiple assays in one run so that reproducibility can be verified in one experiment. Our goal is to develop an exceedingly sensitive and easy to use Raman detection system and to apply it to the detection of melamine adulterants in a variety of foodstuffs. Dynamic Throughput has licensed an intellectual property portfolio from Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory that covers the technology and is actively pursuing patent coverage on its improvements.
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