Vicam test detects Ochratoxin A in coffee and wheat

By Joseph James Whitworth contact

- Last updated on GMT

The Vertu Lateral Flow strip test reader
The Vertu Lateral Flow strip test reader

Related tags: Material, Cereal

Vicam has launched a lateral flow strip test for detection of ochratoxin A in green coffee and wheat.

The Ochra-V AQUA test removes the need to use organic solvents.

The Waters business told FoodQualityNews that development began in 2016 as it is expanding the AQUA platform across Vicam's Vertu strip test product line. 

The test enables on-site monitoring that provides quantitative results minutes after sample extraction, reducing testing time.

Vicam said this allows producers and processors to select safe raw materials for milling (wheat) and roasting (coffee).

Demand to meet standards and move to eco-friendly

Marjorie Radlo-Zandi, Vicam's managing director, said Ochra-V AQUA is available worldwide as of now and was designed for raw material quality verification and screening.

Ochra-V AQUA was designed to enable monitoring and management of ochratoxin in green coffee and wheat because these two products are important to serve customers in meeting global regulatory and safety standards.”

ochra-v lateral flow test vicam
The Ochra-V AQUA test

Radlo-Zandi said organic solvents have enabled fast, efficient extraction of toxins from simple and complex sample types.

“While laboratories are often well-equipped for managing and utilization of organic solvents, raw material producers and processors often had questions and challenges associated with the use and disposal of solvents; some geographic regions have also struggled to obtain access to the needed solvents due to governmental restrictions or logistical challenges,” ​she said

“The move toward sustainable methods across the global food chain has also spurred the development of water-based procedures and higher efficiency, organic solvent-based methods for multi-mycotoxin detection, which reduce overall use of solvents and consumables - an objective shared by stakeholders across the food and agricultural safety and monitoring spectrum.”

Vicam said the single dilution sample preparation procedure saves time and materials.

Ochra-V AQUA's total test time is nine to 10 minutes, which includes a four-minute sample prep (extraction and filtration), followed by a five minute strip test development time.

“Time savings is based on a comparison with traditional, antibody based rapid methods (immunoaffinity column paired with fluorometer or HPLC), which have total test times between 20-45 minutes depending on the type of sample being tested and the desired method performance needed for the analysis,”​ said Radlo-Zandi.

Ochra-V test strips use Vicam’s monoclonal antibodies to detect and quantify ochratoxin A in wheat and coffee samples at levels from 2.5 ppb up to 30 ppb, varying on the procedure.

Ochratoxin A prevalence

Ochratoxin is a mycotoxin produced by the fungus Aspergillus ochraceous and by several species of Penicillium fungi. It is an immunosuppressant and is considered a potential carcinogen.

Ochratoxin A (OTA) is regulated by Europe, Latin America, Asia and Canada at levels as low as 0.5 ppb in baby foods, 5-10 ppb for green, roasted and soluble coffee, wine, dried fruit, cereal grains and up to 80ppb for liquorice extract.

Radlo-Zandi said commodities considered to be at a higher risk include spices, coffee, dried fruit, pistachios, wine, wheat and other cereal grains. 

“Monitoring is performed at port of entry as products arrive in bulk or individual lots to geographic regions where active regulatory limits for OTA are enforced, including the EU, Turkey, Uruguay, Switzerland and Canada. Producers, processors and independent laboratories perform testing at each step from harvest to finished product shipment and delivery,” ​she said.
“Frequency of monitoring is determined by the type of commodity risk for the commodity and regulatory limits set by importing countries. Testing often occurs at point of origin and at the receiving port - often through a trusted independent laboratory.

“Raw commodity suppliers also monitor for ochratoxin for domestic shipments as required by internal quality standards, in-country regulatory limits and to meet ongoing customer expectations and contracts establishing a maximum allowable level for ochratoxin in their contracts.”

On-site benefit

Ochra-V AQUA enables on-time data to be generated for monitoring and management of mycotoxins in inbound raw materials as they arrive for purchase or processing, said Radlo-Zandi.

“One sample may be quickly analyzed, allowing quality managers to respond and segregate or redirect any unsuitable product before it can be included in a storage bin or finished product formulation. The cost per test remains stable regardless of the number of samples run at a given time, and calibration is simplified using a bar code which is scanned once per day,” ​she said.

“ELISA methods typically require re-calibration for each sample or set of samples that is analyzed - and utilizes actual test wells to perform the calibration function. This approach can become costly and require significant time and labor inputs for single data points unless the end user collects groups of samples to be analyzed together.”​  

Digital readings are displayed on the screen of the Vertu Lateral Flow strip test reader.

The Ochra-V AQUA joins the Afla-V AQUA (aflatoxins), Fumo-V AQUA (fumonisin) and DON-V (vomitoxin) in the Vicam portfolio of solvent-free testing.

Future development may include USDA-GIPSA certification and additional sample types will be added to the Ochra-V AQUA family as validation is completed.

Related topics: Regulation & Safety, Tea and Coffee

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