On-site testing for botulinum neurotoxins (BoNT) as an alternative to animal-testing

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

The detection of Botulinum neurotoxin (BoNT) in food and feed allows for the prevention of botulism in humans and animals. Carrying out these analyses in disposable test carriers can replace animal-testing. BoNTs are among the most toxic substances known. They are mainly produced by the bacterium Clostridium botulinum. Contaminated feed can result in large losses at animal farms (especially among sheep, cattle, and horses). BoNT is also dangerous to people. Thus, the toxin is also regarded as a potential bioweapon, because it is easily accessible and can be spread quickly (e.g. 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 automated detection system

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

This research has been funded by the ZIM programme in the "BoNT-Disk” project, among others. Further research is planned. We would be happy to develop specific solutions with you that are tailored to your needs. Have we piqued your interest? Then, please get in touch with me!

You might also be interested in: