Development of Rapid Electrobiochemical Assays for Food Toxins
Food consumed by human beings may contain biotoxins, endotoxins, or chemotoxins that could lead to adverse effects on human health. Ingested toxins generally produce short-term illness that could be fatal. Biotoxins may occur in human food naturally, whereas endotoxins may arise in the food chain due to bacterial degradation. Chemotoxins are added during food preparation; their leaching from plastic packaging leads to long-term malfunctions of the endocrine system. Phthalates are ubiquitous chemotoxins that have penetrated the ecosystem due to their wide use in the plastics industry. Conventional quantification assays for food toxins require skill, expensive equipment, and longer analysis time than the assay techniques presented here. Hydrogen bonding and electrostatic attraction phenomena can be used for the selective capture of toxins present in consumable food. Analyte-sensitive materials immobilized on interdigital capacitive sensing surfaces were developed to design novel assay techniques for real-time monitoring. This chapter describes the electrobiochemical detection of food toxins employing electrochemical impedance spectroscopy in conjunction with smart sensors and selective coatings to quantify their concentration in real time without the need for sample preparation, bulky instrumentation, or skilled operators.