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The detection and elimination of biogenic amines in foods: the design of new biosensors and new amino oxidase catalysts

17th national competition for scientific and technical research

Food security and biotechnology

Senior Researcher : Gloria Fernández Lorente

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Research Centre or Institution : Instituto de Investigación en Ciencias de la Alimentación (CIAL). CSIC-UAM.


Biogenic amines (BA) are low molecular weight organic bases; they are often produced in fermented foods and drinks (such as cheese and wine, etc.) due to the enzymatic activity of certain strains and species of lactic bacteria able to decarboxylate precursor amino acids. In high concentrations and for sensitive individuals they may cause health problems such as headache, difficulty in breathing, heart palpitations, hypertension, etc. Different BA have been identified in wines, the commonest being putrescine and histamine, the most dangerous. The main aims of this project are:

New catalysts to eliminate biogenic amines

In this project, co-immobilised derivates of amino oxidases and catalases are prepared on the same support, to swiftly eliminate all of the hydrogen peroxide freed by oxidation of the biogenic amines. The enzymes are immobilised by covalent multi-point attachment to increase their stability in wine (acid pH and the presence of moderate concentrations of ethanol).

New biosensors to automatically detect traces of biogenic amines

Using oxidised graphene we will attempt to design an ideal biosensor such as the one shown in the figure.

The amine oxidase is directly immobilised on the oxidised graphene electrode with an orientation that permits the transfer of electrons between the active centre of the enzyme and the electrode. The enzyme will stabilise by multipoint covalent attachment.

As amino oxidases we use the enzymes of Penicilium citrinum, pig liver, Hansenula polimorfa and Aspergillus niger. We will evaluate Bordetella pertussis and bovine liver enzymes as catalases.

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