Bioactive Paper-Based Diagnostics

Tuesday, March 20, 2012 - 6:30pm

Bioactive Paper-based Diagnostic for Detecting Pesticide Residues. 


While shopping for fresh fruits and vegetables, have you wondered if the food was free of pesticide residues, toxins or other potentially debilitating pathogens? How sure are you that your food is healthy and does not contain harmful agents? Canada imports over 65% of its fresh fruits and vegetables from around the world. Several fruits and vegetables are imported from developing countries that may use harmful pesticides such as organophosphates and carbamates, which are banned in Canada. These substances can cause poisoning by inhibiting the action of acetylcholinesterase (AcHE) upon contact and prolonged exposure can cause chronic health outcomes, which may lead to serious complications such as development of Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and is implicated in the development of Alzheimer’s  and Parkinson’s disease. The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA), in an internal audit in 2010, found that there were clear lapses in the inspection of imported food for chemical residues. Only about 2% of all food that is imported is even screened. Given the shortage of resources at the disposal of frontline safety inspectors and given the ever-present danger of pesticide poisoning, which affects over 6000 individuals annually in Canada, there is a clear need for an inexpensive, accurate yet rapid diagnostic for the detection of pesticide residues on food products. Such a product has the ability to enhance the scope of screening and help assess risk more accurately to help save time and money. While the government has an unmet need, the private sector (food suppliers and distributors) also has no ability to assess safety and risk of the products they procure to help limit potential liabilities and to help deliver safer and more reliable products to their customers. The SENTINEL program at McMaster University has developed a paper-based diagnostic that helps detect organophosphate or carbamate residues though a color-change reaction. This presentation serves to give a scientific overview of this technology and demonstrate its potential utility for governmental agencies and the private sector. It would also propose a pilot study to help gather data on the product’s utility in an actual local setting, to establish its credibility with potential customers.

Team Innologix

Presented by Team Innologix. Tuesday, March 20, 2012, 6:30-7:30pm, Instructional Centre, Room 335. Also available via webcast. Open to the public. The Master of Biotechnology Program would like to thank AstraZeneca Canada Inc. for their continued support of this seminar series.