When detecting mycotoxins in food, speed is a decisive factor. It is essential that the analysis can be performed on-site within a minimum of time. Now there is a new solution for mycotoxin analysis: a smartphone app. We’ll show you what it’s all about and what the differences are to common lateral flow readers.
Anyone who is responsible for testing food for mycotoxins knows: Time matters and waiting a long time for the test results or sending samples to a laboratory just isn’t possible during the operating process. When a fresh delivery of grain arrives, you have to know immediately if the product is contaminated. That’s why speed is just as important as reliability when it comes to analyzing mycotoxins. Accordingly, a rapid test is usually used for on-site analysis rather than an ELISA or HPLC test.
Mycotoxin rapid tests
The fastest way to detect mycotoxins in food is with a so-called lateral flow test. This is an immuno-chromatographic rapid test in the form of a strip test. It is based on an antigen-antibody reaction: If mycotoxins are present in the sample, a red band will appear on the test strip. Based on the colour, you can read the result with the naked eye or analyze it with a reader device.
Lateral flow tests or lateral flow devices (LFDs) are widely used because they offer many advantages:
- Handy format (dipstick)
- Very simple test procedure
- Fast results
- Suitable for on-site analysis (no laboratory necessary)
- Suitable for qualitative and semi-quantitative as well as quantitative determination (with reading device)
Analyzing mycotoxins via smartphone: How does it work?
If you want to perform a quantitative analysis with a lateral flow test, a special reading device is needed. However, LFD readers are often quite expensive to purchase and not always very comfortable to use. The mycotoxin analysis via a simple smartphone app is a new alternative to the LFD reader. The RIDA®SMART APP has recently been presented. We have tested the app and checked it against common LFD readers:
|RIDA®SMART APP||Common LFD readers|
|Mobility||Compact size; can be easily carried around at any time||Depending on its size and weight, a mobile use is only possible to a limited extent|
|Handling||The test strip is scanned with the smartphone; simple operation via touchscreen||The test strip is inserted into the reading device|
|Rapidity||Results are available within 5 minutes||Depending on model|
|Quality of the results||Aflatoxin concentrations are measured quantitatively at a range from 4 bis 100 µg/kg||Depending on model|
|Processing of the results||Bluetooth and Wi-Fi connection; results can be sent to an email recipient, a printer or a LIMS||Some models have an USB port or a Bluetooth connection|
|Cost||No acquisition costs apart from the smartphone||Usually high initial costs for device and accessories|