Scale up and validation of a low-cost paper-based test for mycotoxins

Posted on 06.02.2017 | Last Modified 22.02.2021
Lead Researcher (PI): Maria DeRosa
Institution: Carleton University
Total WGRF Funding: $99,937
Co-Funders: Alberta Wheat Commission, Saskatchewan Wheat Development Commission
Start Date: 2016
Project Length: 3 Years

To develop a reliable, efficient, rapid and cost effective test method for mycotoxins such at OTA, DON, FB1 which could be used at the farm or grain elevator.

Project Summary:

Mycotoxins are naturally occurring toxins produced by mold that can sometimes be found in crops or
food. Mycotoxins can develop pre-harvest, during harvest, or while in storage, and can be difficult and
expensive to detect. Maria DeRosa, a Professor at Carleton University, led a research project to
develop a rapid, low-cost test for mycotoxins that could be used at the farm or grain elevator with
minimal training or resources. Her first prototype is a strip test for Ochratoxin A (OTA) and this grant
examined the scale-up and validation of this method with naturally contaminated grain samples. The
strip works in a way that is similar to a pregnancy test: a change in a colored spot on the strip lets the
user know if the sample is positive for OTA. The project was successful at scaling up production of
these strips and tests with real-world samples were very promising. The work for this project has laid
the foundation for future experiments where these strips can be tested outside of a controlled lab
environment to confirm their usability for farmers or others in the supply chain.