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  • Jefferson Adams

    Celiac Disease Future: A Device that Detects Gluten in Food?

    Jefferson Adams
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    Reviewed and edited by a celiac disease expert.

    Celiac.com 10/18/2012 - Currently, there is no convenient way for people with celiac disease to test food for gluten content. In an effort to change that, University researchers in Spain are using Sunrise™ absorbance readers by Tecan, together with Magellan™ V4.0 software to create an accurate, easy to use sensor that can test for gluten in food.

    Photo: CC--chrisinplymouthMaria Isabel Pividori from the Sensors and Biosensors Group at the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona confirmed the development of the "electrochemical magneto immunosensor for the sensitive detection of gliadin – and small gliadin fragments – in natural or pretreated foods.” Gliadin is the main protein trigger for celiac disease.



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    The sensor is an important step toward addressing "increasing demand for rapid, simple and low cost techniques for accurate food analysis in decentralized analytical situations," said Pividori.

    The research team measured the performance of the electrochemical immuno-sensor by comparing it with a new magneto-ELISA, using optical detection performed on the Sunrise plate reader.

    The team conducted ELISAs in 96-well microplates, using a magnetic separation plate to isolate the supernatant before measuring the absorbance in the Sunrise reader.

    This enabled the team to conduct immunoassays in a number of various formats for multiple applications – such as evaluating protein coupling to magnetic beads and nanoparticles – as well as allowing assessment of different transducer materials for bio-sensing purposes.

    Because it offers "a quick and easy way to optimize reagents and assay parameters," Pividori calls the Sunrise "ideal for research applications."

    So just how far off is a commercially viable device that will allow people with celiac disease to test gluten levels in their food? Only time will tell, but stay tuned for more developments as researchers try to deliver such a device.

    Meantime, let us know what you think. Would you like a device that could easily and accurately test food for gluten? Would such a device make your gluten-free life better or easier? Comment below to let us know your thoughts.

    Full details of this study can be found in: Laube T et al. Biosens Bioelectron, 2011, 27, 46-52.

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    I would love a gliaden sensor to test food for gluten. Because of other health issues, I can't readily tell if I have ingested gluten and my daughter is asymptomatic. A gluten detector would help keep us from eating contaminated food and lower the stress level of eating out.

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    It would be amazing. We would buy several to keep in different places. I would think pretty much anyone with celiac disease or gluten intolerance would buy one as long as it was affordable.

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    Yes... this would be a wonderful device. I've thrown away so much food that people have (with best of intentions) brought me from their kitchens or bakeries claiming to be gluten-free. From experience I've learned that I can not risk eating such items. This would probably allow me to enjoy many more options with the confidence that I won't have a reaction or compromise my health.

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    I have been on a strict gluten-free diet for years and I still have antibodies. Hidden gluten or cross contamination are the likely sources. I would love one of these at a manageable cost.

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    I would love to have it to see if Modified Food Starch on label is gluten or not. I don't use these foods but I might be able to eat them if I could test them. It would also have to be reasonably priced.

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    I would LOVE LOVE LOVE to have a sensor. It would make eating away from home so much less stressful. I would use it when I go to restaurants - particularly new ones where I wasn't sure they really understood what gluten was.

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    Guest monika.lazaro5@gmail.com

    Posted

    The problem with this is that the food would have to be bought first, then taken home to test. If it's not gluten-free, the money has been wasted.

    Actually I'm thinking of using it at a restaurant when they offer 'Gluten-Free Food" as a double-check!

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  • About Me

    Jefferson Adams is Celiac.com's senior writer and Digital Content Director. He earned his B.A. and M.F.A. at Arizona State University, and has authored more than 2,500 articles on celiac disease. His coursework includes studies in science, scientific methodology, biology, anatomy, medicine, logic, and advanced research. He previously served as SF Health News Examiner for Examiner.com, and devised health and medical content for Sharecare.com. Jefferson has spoken about celiac disease to the media, including an appearance on the KQED radio show Forum, and is the editor of the book "Cereal Killers" by Scott Adams and Ron Hoggan, Ed.D.


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