J2-3049 Microfluidic sensor system for pesticide detection (MISS PES)

ARRS project: J2-3049 Microfluidic sensor system for pesticide detection (MISS PES)

Partners: JSI and FKKT

Leader: Prof. Danjela Kuščer

Period: 1. 10. 2021 – 30. 9. 2024



Neonicotinoid pesticides (NNIs) are a group of comparatively new, broad-spectrum insecticides that affect the central nervous system of insects, leading to eventual paralysis and death. NNIs are one of the most used pesticides worldwide, due to their effectiveness and relatively low toxicity towards non-target species. But some recent research shows that NNIs could affect the mammalian nervous system, and could cause colony collapse in honeybees. All NNIs are toxic to honeybees, with oral LD50 values below 5 ng per honeybee. To protect honeybees and thus to preserve biodiversity in the environment, the European Commission imposed a ban on the use of the three most toxic NNIs in 2018.

Due to the environment and food-safety issue, the monitoring of NNIs in real samples has become increasingly important. The chromatography/mass-spectrometry techniques are well established and reliable, but they are performed in laboratories, are time-consuming, demand the use of expensive equipment and require highly trained staff. There is urgent need to provide accurate, selective and sensitive determinations of NNIs on-site in real samples.

In the propose project we will realise a microfluidic electrochemical sensor (MES) system with an array of three-electrodes sensors (TESs) and a corresponding electronic for simultaneous detection and quantification of a few relevant NNIs with a ng/g limit of detection. The detection of multiple NNIs with a microfluidic system in breakthrough in sensing: it presents fast and effective screening techniques for food and environmental safety monitoring and detection of NNIs on-site.

The objectives of the project are:

1) Preparation of nanoparticle composite working electrode for detecting NNIs and evaluation of the selectivity and sensitivity of the electrode in a three-electrode system;

2) Fabrication of a microfluidic electrochemical sensor system for the multiple detection of NNIs and a determination of the measuring conditions for sensing different NNIs in a model fluid;

3) Determination of NNIs with a microfluidic electrochemical sensor (MES) system in a relevant environment with a limit of detection below 1 ng/g.