SENSOGM – Development of biophotonic sensors for environmental determination of GMOs 

Project co-funded by Tuscany Region within the POR-FESR 2014-2020 program Action 1.1.5.a3 (2018-2020)

Participants: ACTIS Active Sensors S.r.l. (coordinator), Ecobioservices and Researches S.r.l., Giotto Biotech S.r.l., Nanesa S.r.l., Chemistry Dept. Univ. Florence, Biology Dept. Univ. of Florence, Institute of Applied Physics “Nello Carrara”- CNR.

We propose the development of an integrated plasmonic platform to expand the possibility of detecting, identifying and quantifying genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in the environment. The platform will provide both a rapid screening to obtain a semi-quantitative response, and a detailed analysis for a full quantitative profiling of the species present in environmental samples. Appropriate transgenic DNA sequences and / or proteic fingerprints that correlate with transgenic events in seeds or plants of interest (such as maize, canola, soya, sugar beet, tomato, tobacco, potato, vine) will be selected as biomarkers for a relevant proof of concept. Receptors for these targets will therefore be engineered for integration in the various sensors as specific recognition elements of each biomarker. The integrated platform will be composed of: 1) a multianalyte biosensor based on surface plasmon resonance imaging (SPRi) capable of simultaneous and label-free identification of several biomarkers that are co-present in a sample; 2) a cheap, portable, fast and easy-to-use colorimetric biosensor based on a suspension of plasmonic nanoparticles providing in-situ semi-quantitative information; 3) a surface-enhanced Raman spectroscopy (SERS) system based on silver / graphene substrates for recognition and quantification of biomarkers without the use of specific receptors or labels.

Overall, the integrated platform can represent an “analytical chain” for the traceability of the release of GMOs in the environment based on complementary techniques able to cover different analytical needs of the control phases: from field screening to laboratory quantitative profiling of the population composition.

Total project budget: € 1.050.000,00

Total financing provided: € 702.548,59

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