About the partnership

Background

There is an increasing concern regarding food contamination with environmental pollutants (pesticides, heavy metals and others). Such contamination is presently evaluated by traditional technologies which are time-consuming, expensive, require specific expertise and are commonly performed in specialised laboratories.

Therefore, there is an urgent need for development of novel and rapid technologies which are cost effective, and which could also be applied at the point of test. Moreover, the existing technologies only allow for the detection of known contaminants, and do not provide information about potential toxicity on new and emerging environmental pollutants.

Combining areas of expertise

UWE has extensive expertise in developing new technologies for various applications. This includes electrochemical sensors, immunomagnetic particles-based sensors, whole 3D cells sensors ("spheroids") and 3D imaging technologies.

Combining this expertise with that of our partners, we plan to apply our existing technologies and to develop new technologies for the evaluation of food and feed contamination with environmental pollutants in the first place, and to expand areas of the technology application in the future.  

The wider impact

Development of (bio)-sensors for detection of environmental pollutants in animal feed and food products would have significant economic (reduction of analyses cost), social (improving animal welfare), and health (improving animal and human health) impacts. Such technologies would also have an impact on policy development.

This project is viewed as a first step in the long-term partnership between the UK and Chinese academic institutions, industry, public bodies, government organisations and others. Such a partnership will facilitate knowledge exchange and technology transfer.

Development of platform technologies

The above technologies will be initially developed for evaluation of effects of environmental contaminants, but they could be further adapted for detection of pathogens and rapid disease diagnostics (in animals and human), and could be used as a tool in various fields of biological research. Therefore, these technologies can be viewed as 'platform technologies'.

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