The Threat of Biotoxins to Food Safety

The Threat of Biotoxins to Food Safety

Biological toxins, also known as natural toxins, are chemical substances produced by various organisms (animals, plants, microorganisms) that are toxic to other biological species. There are many types of biotoxins, including almost all types of compounds, and their biological activities are also very complex, not only with toxicological effects but also with pharmacological effects. According to the source, it can be divided into plant toxins, animal toxins, marine toxins, and microbial toxins. Biological toxins are generally more toxic. The earliest human experience of biological toxins stems from food poisoning. With the increase in the degree of human utilization of marine organisms, the incidence of the three major marine biological hazards has an increasing trend. Contamination of cereals by aflatoxin and sterigmatocystin, and mycotoxins in corn and peanut crops have all been proved to be the main inducers of regional liver cancer, gastric cancer, and esophageal cancer. Modern research has also found that there are a variety of toxins with strong cancer-promoting effects related to cell carcinogeneses in nature, such as dolastoxin and phorbol ester. In addition to the above-mentioned direct poisoning hazards to humans, biotoxins can also cause losses in agriculture, animal husbandry, aquaculture, and environmental damage.

The Necessity of Detecting Biotoxins in Food by ELISA

Due to the diversity and complexity of biotoxins, many biotoxins have not been clearly understood. Therefore, the prevention and control of biological toxins is still a worldwide problem. With the increase of health awareness, people's attention to environmental pollution and food safety is also increasing. Biotoxin is an important factor affecting the environment and health, and given the unique structure of biotoxin and the difficulty of finding an antidote, it is particularly important to find a rapid, high-sensitivity, and high-specificity biotoxin detection method. Therefore, ELISA is widely used in the detection of biotoxins.

The Common Types of Biotoxins That Can Be Detected by ELISA

Aflatoxin (AFT) is a difuran ring toxin produced by certain strains such as Aspergillus flavus and Aspergillus parasiticus. There are about 20 kinds of its derivatives, of which B1 is the most toxic. AFT will contaminate food crops. It is estimated that AFT will destroy 25% or more of the world's food crops every year. As a naturally occurring carcinogen, AFT poses a serious health threat to humans and livestock. AFT can induce liver cancer in animals, and can cause acute poisoning and death to certain animals.

Tetrodotoxin (TTX) is an amino perhydroquinazoline compound, one of the most toxic neurotoxins found in nature. Puffer fish toxins and analogues mainly exist in various guinea fishes, and their chemical and thermal properties are very stable. TTX poisoning has a short incubation period and high mortality. After the toxin is absorbed, it quickly acts on the peripheral nerves and central nervous system, causing nerve conduction barriers. First, sensory nerve palsy, then motor nerve palsy. In severe cases, brainstem palsy can lead to respiratory and circulatory failure.

Ciguatoxin (CTX) are a class of macromolecular polyether neurotoxins, which are very toxic, 100 times stronger than tetrodotoxin, and are one of the most toxic toxins known to mammals. Currently, 3 types of ciguatoxin have been discovered. CTX is a neurotoxin, which is not easily destroyed by gastric acid and will not be decomposed by high temperature. Therefore, the cooking process cannot remove toxins. Ciguatoxin poisoning causes clinical symptoms of human poisoning, including digestive system symptoms, cardiovascular system symptoms and neurological symptoms.

Fumonisin (FB) is a type of mycotoxins mainly produced by Fusarium moniliforme. It mainly contaminates corn and its products, as well as grains and their products such as wheat and rice. Because fumonisin is widely distributed and highly toxic, its pollution to crops is widespread worldwide. In animals, fumonisin is associated with a wide range of health effects, and is acutely toxic and potentially carcinogenic to certain livestock. In humans, the potential of fumonisin to cause cancer is a major concern.

The Advantages of Using ELISA to Detect Biotoxins in Food

  • Contribute to food safety
  • Can quickly detect the biotoxins in the food
  • Can effectively prevent the occurrence of biotoxins poisoning incidents

Creative Diagnostics has been committed to the research of detecting biotoxins in food. We provide reliable ELISA kits to detect biotoxins. Supported by rich related R&D experience and diversified ELISA kits, we provide high-quality customized ELISA kits services, professional ELISA testing services, and believable ELISA development services related to biotoxins. If you wish a lot of careful data, please contact us.


  1. XIONG, Y.; et al. Plasmonic ELISA based on enzyme-assisted etching of Au nanorods for the highly sensitive detection of aflatoxin B1 in corn samples. Sensors and Actuators B: Chemical. 2018, 267: 320-327.
  2. Noguchi, T.; et al. TTX accumulation in pufferfish. Comp Biochem Physiol Part D Genomics Proteomics. 2006, 1(1): 145-152.
  3. Tsumuraya, T.; Hirama, M. Rationally Designed Synthetic Haptens to Generate Anti-Ciguatoxin Monoclonal Antibodies, and Development of a Practical Sandwich ELISA to Detect Ciguatoxins. Toxins, 2019, 11(9): 533.
  4. Yang, H.; et al. Antibody-biotin-streptavidin-horseradish peroxidase (HRP) sensor for rapid and ultra-sensitive detection of fumonisins. Food Chem. 2020, 316: 126356.
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