9 April 2024

European patent submited for colorimetric sensor for L-asparagine detection

European patent submited for colorimetric sensor for L-asparagine detection

The quantification of L-asparagine is of particular importance in various sectors of activity. Currently, the concentration of this substance in aqueous solutions is determined using complex, time-consuming and expensive techniques.

A research group from CICECO-Aveiro Institute of Materials, Department of Chemistry, led by Ana Paula M. Tavares, Auxiliary Researcher, has developed, together with Mara G. Freire, Márcia C. Neves and João C.F. Nunes, a colorimetric sensor that, through color analysis, allows visual detection of the concentration of L-asparagine. This technology is based on a simple, fast and economical method, using low-cost materials, the result of which is based on the easy, simple and fast reading of the change in color of the material/support used.

According to the team: "The present invention can be used in any application in which it is necessary to determine the concentration levels of L-asparagine in aqueous solutions. Consequently, the present invention can be applied in a chemistry laboratory for the rapid detection of high concentration ranges of L-asparagine in aqueous solutions. In the health sector, for the detection of L-asparagine in human serum samples from acute lymphoblastic leukemia patients. Also in the food industry, the present invention can be applied to the detection of L-asparagine concentration levels in samples of starchy foods to control the formation of acrylamide (a potentially carcinogenic substance in humans) when these foods are cooked above 100 °C in order to ensure that the daily consumption of acrylamide is reduced."

In this context, the team in the UI-TRANSFER scientific knowledge transfer and valorization project, promoted by Universidade de Aveiro, the University of Trás-os-Montes, the University of Porto, TecMinho and the University of Coimbra. With this project, the technology obtained support for proofs of concept, increasing its technological maturity, and took part in the final event, where, in front of a panel of judges, the researchers presented the technology. In addition, efforts have been made to raise its profile with European food regulatory bodies, presenting it as an option for the rapid analysis of L-asparagine levels in food. The research group is currently developing the production of prototypes on different scales, as well as carrying out tests in a simulated environment, with a view to making the most of this technology.

This technology has applications for protection at national and European level and was developed under the FCT project NanoPurAsp - Development of sustainable nanomaterials for the purification of antileukemic drugs (POCI-01-0145-FEDER-031268).

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