Alternative to animal testing through on-site testing for botulinum neurotoxins (BoNT)

Thanks to the BoNT disk, Hahn-Schickard is developing a rapid diagnostic test system for the detection of all known types of botulinum toxins.

Botulism can be prevented in humans and animals thanks to the ability to detect BoNT in food and feed. Analyses in disposable test carriers can replace animal experiments.
Botulinum neurotoxins (BoNT) are among the most toxic of known substances, and they are mainly produced by the bacterium Clostridium botulinum. Contaminated feed can lead to large losses at animal farms (especially among sheep, cattle, and horses). BoNT is also dangerous to people, so it is no wonder that the toxin is also regarded as a potential bioweapon, because it is easily accessible and can be spread quickly (such as via the food product distribution network). BoNT type A is widely known under the trade name Botox®, which is injected under the skin in small amounts to smooth out wrinkles.

Integrated and automatic detection system

The test system makes it possible to detect minute amounts of botulinum neurotoxins. Due to its ability to detect all medically relevant types (BoNT/A-F) at the same time, it is clearly superior to other rapid tests, each of which can only detect a single type. When it is integrated on a centrifugal microfluidic disk, samples such as food or environmental samples can be analyzed automatically on site using a mobile device. The functionality of the BoNT disk has already been confirmed independently by several laboratories in England, Germany and Switzerland. The test system does not use living biological material, thus making it possible to reduce the need for animal experiments and even replace them.

ZIM has promoted the pursuit of this fundamental research through the "BoNT-Disk” project, among others, and additional research is also planned. We would be happy to develop specific solutions with you that are tailored to your problem. Have we piqued your interest? Then please get in touch with me!

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