A sensitive and label-free surface plasmon resonance (SPR) based sensor was developed in this work for the detection of milk allergens. β-lactoglobulin (BLG) protein was used as the biomarker for cow milk detection. This is to be used directly in final rinse samples of cleaning in-place (CIP) systems of food manufacturers. The affinity assay was optimised and characterised before a standard curve was performed in pure buffer conditions, giving a detection limit of 0.164 µg mL-1 as a direct binding assay. The detection limit can be further enhanced through the use of a sandwich assay and amplification with nanomaterials. However, this was not required here, as the detection limit achieved exceeded the required allergen detection levels of 2 µg mL-1 for β-lactoglobulin. The binding affinities of the polyclonal antibody for BLG, expressed by the dissociation constant (KD), were equal to 2.59 × 10-9 M. The developed SPR-based sensor offers several advantages in terms of label-free detection, real-time measurements, potential on-line system and superior sensitivity when compared to ELISA-based techniques. The method is novel for this application and could be applied to wider food allergen risk management decision(s) in food manufacturing.
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- Milk protein
- Surface plasmon resonance (SPR)
- β-lactoglobulin (BLG)