A novel biosensor for the detection of zearalenone family mycotoxins in milk.
ABSTRACT In this study, a method for detecting estrogenic mycotoxin residues in milk was developed utilizing bioluminescent whole-cell biosensors. Milk products of various compositions were spiked with the estrogenic mycotoxins zearalenone and its metabolites zearalanone, alpha-zearalanol, beta-zearalanol, alpha-zearalenol and beta-zearalenol. The estrogenic response was detected by a whole-cell biosensor based on a genetically modified Saccharomyces cerevisiae strain that in the presence of an estrogenic compound produces firefly luciferase-enzyme and further light emission within a system provided with D-luciferin substrate. The results show that the yeast sensor reacts to mycotoxins with typical sigmoidal response at nanomolar concentrations. The response differs in different milk products with regard to the fat content of the milk. Due to short assay time of less than 3h and automation the approach can be used as a bioavailability and activity screening method prior to more detailed chemical analysis.