Dr. Veronica Lattanzio
Institute of Sciences of Food Production, National Research Council of Italy (ISPA-CNR)
Rapid Detection of Aflatoxin M1 in Milk: Analytical Challenges and Validation Aspects under EC Perspective
Veronica M.T. Lattanzio and Michelangelo Pascale
Rapid test methods for measuring Aflatoxin M1 (AFM1) in milk are available either as commercial kits or research methods. Enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays (ELISA), lateral flow tests, immunoaffinity columns coupled with fluorimetric assay are common formats in the current market. Based on recent research developments it is expected that innovative technologies such as electrochemical affinity biosensors, aptamer based biosensors, dynamic light scattering, might be available in the next future for new kits development.
The main purpose of screening methods is to detect the presence of a contaminant at level of interest allowing rapid decision making. European Union has set a maximum permitted limit of 0.050 µg/kg for AFM1 in milk. Besides the high sensitivity required for AFM1 detection in milk, the major analytical challenge when developing screening tests is to make them reliable and robust for laboratory and in-field use. This means to cope with differences from matrix to matrix, environmental conditions, operator skills, lot-to-lot reproducibility. A commonly recognized evaluation system needs to be in place so that commercial kits can be evaluated against the same standard. Evaluation programs for commercial testing kits have been established by the United State Department of Agricultural - Grain Inspection Packers and Stockyards Administration (USDA-GIPSA) and AOAC Research Institute. Recent efforts of the European Union, for establishing practical guidelines for the generation of fit-for-purposes performance parameters for screening methods for mycotoxins in foods, resulted in the Regulation 519/2014/EC. The EC validation scheme and its practical application to evaluate performances of a commercial kit for AFM1 detection in milk will be presented and discussed.