Electrochemical nanoprobe-based immunosensor for deoxynivalenol mycotoxin residues analysis in wheat samples

  • Enrique ValeraEmail author
  • Raül García-Febrero
  • Christopher T. Elliott
  • Francisco Sánchez-Baeza
  • M.-P. Marco
Research Paper
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Nanoparticles for Bioanalysis


Deoxynivalenol (DON) is a toxic secondary metabolite produced by several species of Fusarium fungi, which can be predominantly found in agricultural crops such as wheat. In livestock, deoxynivalenol-contaminated grain can produce vomiting, feed refusal, weight loss, and diarrhea. This paper reports an electrochemical immunosensor for the detection of residual DON mycotoxin in food samples. The device uses electrochemical nanoprobes (CdSNP-AbDON) and antigen biofunctionalized magnetic μ-particles (DON-BSAMP) to detect the mycotoxin. CdSNP-AbDON are prepared by labelling the DON-specific antibodies with CdS nanoparticles (CdSNPs). Nanoparticle size and CdSNP-AbDON conjugation ratio are characterized using TEM images. The metal ions released by the CdSNP are reduced at the working electrode and read by anodic stripping voltammetry. DON can be detected in PBST buffer with an IC50 of 6.74 ± 0.19 μg L−1. The high detectability of the immunosensor developed allows detection of DON residues in 50-fold diluted wheat extracts. The limit of detection (LOD, IC90) accomplished in wheat is of 342.4 μg kg−1, which is below the maximum residue limit (MRL, 1750 μg kg−1 for unprocessed durum wheat, 750 μg kg−1 for cereals intended for direct human consumption) established by the EU for this mycotoxin. The working range is in the interval between 610 and 6210 μg kg−1. The performance of the immunosensor was compared with the ELISA assay. DON naturally contaminated wheat samples were analyzed with the immunosensor, showing acceptable recoveries.

Graphical abstract


Immunosensor CdS nanoparticles Electrochemical nanoprobes Deoxynivalenol mycotoxin residues Wheat Food safety 


Funding information

E. Valera thanks support from the Spanish Government (Ministerio de Ciencia e Innovación) for a Juan de la Cierva fellowship. The European Community (FP7-KBBE-211326) have supported this work. CIBER-BBN is an initiative funded by the VI National R&D&i Plan 2008–2011, Iniciativa Ingenio 2010, Consolider Program, and CIBER Actions and financed by the Instituto de Salud Carlos III with assistance from the European Regional Development Fund. The AMR group is a consolidated Grup de Recerca de la Generalitat de Catalunya and has support from the Departament d’Universitats, Recerca i Societat de la Informació la Generalitat de Catalunya (expedient 2009 SGR 1343).

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

All authors declare that there is no conflict of interest regarding the publication of this article.

Supplementary material

216_2018_1538_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (78 kb)
ESM 1 (PDF 78.2 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Enrique Valera
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
    Email author
  • Raül García-Febrero
    • 1
    • 2
  • Christopher T. Elliott
    • 4
  • Francisco Sánchez-Baeza
    • 1
    • 2
  • M.-P. Marco
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.CIBER de Bioingeniería, Biomateriales y Nanomedicina (CIBER-BBN)BarcelonaSpain
  2. 2.Nanobiotechnology for Diagnostics (Nb4D) groupIQAC-CSICBarcelonaSpain
  3. 3.Department of BioengineeringUniversity of Illinois at Urbana-ChampaignUrbanaUSA
  4. 4.The Institute for Global Food Security, School of Biological SciencesQueen’s UniversityBelfastUK

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