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Development of an automated multienzymatic biosensor for risk assessment of pesticide contamination in water and food

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This report is funded by EFSA as part of the EU‐FORA programme.

Note: The full opinion will be published in accordance with article 8(6) of Regulation (EC) No 1831/2003 once the decision on confidentiality, in line with article 18(2) of the Regulation, will be received from the European Commission.


The goal of this research is to better address the problems related to the widespread presence of pesticides in the environment. Despite the unquestionable utility of the pesticides against various pests in the agricultural field, most pesticides and the corresponding pesticide residues are toxic to the environment and hazardous to human health. The recent literature on organophosphate compounds emphasises a clear correlation between their use and the occurrence of disorders in the nervous system, especially in children. The conventional systems for the detection and analysis of these compounds are expensive, time‐consuming and require highly specialised operators; moreover, no online automated screening systems are yet available, that would allow the identification and quantification of the presence of these chemicals in samples from industrial sectors such as the food industry. Esterase‐based biosensors represent a viable alternative to this problem. In this fellowship programme, we aim to develop a robust and sensitive methodology that enables the screening of toxic compounds using a streamlined process, using an automated robotic system to achieve a continuous monitoring for risk assessment of pesticides.

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