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Optical Biosensors for Food Quality and Safety Assurance

Published: Monday, October 07, 2013
Last Updated: Monday, October 07, 2013
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With high specificity, convenience and quick response there is growing interest in biosensors for food safety testing.

In this review article researchers from Central Institute of Post-harvest Engineering and Technology, Ludhiana, India review optical biosensors, fiber optics and SPR based biosensors for the detection of analytes in food. 

Abstract
Food quality and safety is a scientific discipline describing handling, preparation and storage of food in ways that prevent food borne illness. Food serves as a growth medium for microorganisms that can be pathogenic or cause food spoilage. Therefore, it is imperative to have stringent laws and standards for the preparation, packaging and transportation of food. The conventional methods for detection of food contamination based on culturing, colony counting, chromatography and immunoassay are tedious and time consuming while biosensors have overcome some of these disadvantages. There is growing interest in biosensors due to high specificity, convenience and quick response. Optical biosensors show greater potential for the detection of pathogens, pesticide and drug residues, hygiene monitoring, heavy metals and other toxic substances in the food to check whether it is safe for consumption or not. This review focuses on optical biosensors, the recent developments in the associated instrumentation with emphasis on fiber optic and surface plasmon resonance (SPR) based biosensors for detecting a range of analytes in food samples, the major advantages and challenges associated with optical biosensors. It also briefly covers the different methods employed for the immobilization of bio-molecules used in developing biosensors.

The review is published online in the Journal of Food Science and Technology and is free to access.


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