h-ALO aims to develop and demonstrate in real-setting a new photonic-based sensor which will allow local food producers and retailers to control food quality and safety, therefore increasing competitiveness in the whole food production value chain.
The sensor will provide:
- Unprecedented high sensitivity, low limit-of-detection and large dynamic range compared to previously developed portable systems through the combination of an analyte pre-concentration and a multi-modal detection scheme;• Miniaturization and integration of optoelectronic and plasmonic components allowing portability in optical detection;
- Multiplex-analyte recognition, allowing the unprecedented detection of both microbiological and chemical contaminants such as pesticides/antiparasitic, heavy metals, micro-organisms;
- Easy and fast sample preparation protocols which are adaptable for a wide range of food samples;
- Measurement automation and fast response, making the sensor reliable for on-site use by farmers, retailers and non-expert operators;
- Mobile-phone connectivity and cloud-based data management allowing a distributed, anonymous food monitoring along the farm-to-fork chain.
The innovative technologies at the basis of the h-ALO sensor are:
i) highly integrated organic/hybrid photonic components as light-source and photodetector;
ii) nanoplasmonic biofunctionalized surface assessing innovative multimodal optical transduction;
iii) innovative aptamer- and immunoassay-based bio-recognition elements for multiplexing;
iv) a smart microsieve membrane for analyte pre-concentration.
The h-ALO prototype will be validated in lab by quantitative comparison with benchmark commercially available methods and demonstrated on-site in small selected agri-food chains such as aquaponics, craft beer, raw milk and organic honey, and introduced into an HACCP manual.