Scientists design portable, rapid biosensors for detecting noroviruses and mycotoxins in foods 

UMass Amherst food scientists and UK engineers at Newcastle awarded among first international USDA partnership grants

An international team led by a University of Massachusetts Amherst food and environmental virologist in the US has received a $750,000 USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) partnership grant to develop and test portable, rapid biosensors capable of detecting noroviruses and mycotoxins in foods and agricultural products. It is among the first partnership grants awarded with an international partner by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).

“Mycotoxins are toxic substances produced by fungi that can grow in warm and humid conditions on crops and food, in particular in many grains, produce, nuts, seeds and spices. They represent a growing threat to public health in the face of climate change trends and increased consumption of plant-based foods”, researchers say.

The UMass Amherst food scientists got together with engineers at Newcastle University to seek a rare international partnership grant from the USDA’s NIFA. The British engineers are world leaders in electrochemical sensing techniques based on generating molecularly imprinted polymer nanoparticles (nanoMIPs).

The UMass team will learn more about the application of nanoMIPs when they visit the Peeters Lab at Newcastle, and the UK team will be hosted by Moore’s Applied and Environmental Virology Lab to gain knowledge about virological, microbiological and food science techniques.

Image credit- shutterstock

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