Detection of chlorantraniliprole residues in tomato using field-deployable MIP photonic sensors


A photonic sensor based on inversed opal molecular imprinted polymer (MIP) film to detect the presence of chlorantraniliprole (CHL) residue in tomatoes was developed. Acrylic acid was polymerized in the presence of CHL inside the structure of a colloidal crystal, followed by etching of the colloids and CHL elution. Colloidal crystals and MIP films were characterized by scanning electron microscopy and FT-IR, confirming the inner structure and chemical structure of the material. MIP films supported on polymethylmethacrylate (PMMA) slides were incubated in aqueous solutions of the pesticide and in blended tomato samples. The MIP sensor displayed shifts of the peak wavelength of the reflection spectra in the visible range when incubated in CHL concentrations between 0.5 and 10 μg L−1, while almost no peak displacement was observed for non-imprinted (NIP) films. Whole tomatoes were blended into a liquid and spiked with CHL; the sensor was able to detect CHL residues down to 0.5 μg kg−1, significantly below the tolerance level established by the US Environmental Protection Agency of 1.4 mg kg−1. Stable values were reached after about 30-min incubation in test samples. Control samples (unspiked processed tomatoes) produced peak shifts both in MIP and NIP films; however, this matrix effect did not affect the detection of CHL in the spiked samples. These promising results support the application of photonic MIP sensors as an economical and field-deployable screening tool for the detection of CHL in crops.

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E. Rossi would like to acknowledge CONICET for his fellowship.


The authors are grateful to the Instituto Tecnológico de Buenos Aires (ITBA) and the University of Missouri College of Engineering for financial support.

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Correspondence to Maria M. Fidalgo.

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Rossi, E., Salahshoor, Z., Ho, KV. et al. Detection of chlorantraniliprole residues in tomato using field-deployable MIP photonic sensors. Microchim Acta 188, 70 (2021).

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  • Molecularly imprinted polymer
  • Photonic sensor
  • Colloidal crystal
  • Pesticide detection
  • Chlorantraniliprole