Aptamer-based Sensing Techniques for Food Safety and Quality
Food safety is a growing public health concern worldwide. The need to detect unsafe levels of food contaminants such as chemical compounds, toxins and pathogens prompts new technology and advances in biosensing for food safety. Although current detection methods are able to detect such contaminants with a high level of selectivity and sensitivity, these methods continue to lack practical application. A reliable, easy-to-use, inexpensive detection method that can be used quickly and on-site is a necessity, especially for contaminants that primarily affect food commodities in developing countries. Aptamers are single-stranded oligonucleotides capable of binding a specific target molecule with a high degree of affinity and selectivity. These molecular recognition elements can be selected to bind selectively to a specific target molecule, ranging from small molecules to whole cells. This allows aptamers to be used as the recognition components for food-safety related biosensors. This chapter will review recent literature in aptamers for food-safety related target molecules, and will focus on the incorporation of these aptamers in sensitive and practical biosensors for a variety of food products.