Interconnectable 3D-printed sample processing modules for portable mycotoxin screening of intact wheat

Anouk J Bosman, Stephan Freitag, Georgina M S Ross, Michael Sulyok, Rudolf Krska, Francesco Simone Ruggeri*, Gert Ij Salentijn*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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The increasing demand for food and feed products is stretching the capacity of the food value chain to its limits. A key step for ensuring food safety is checking for mycotoxin contamination of wheat. However, this analysis is typically performed by rather complex and expensive chromatographic methods, such as liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS). These costly methods require extensive sample preparation that is not easily carried out at different points along the food supply chain. To overcome such challenges in sample processing, an inexpensive and portable sample preparation device was needed, that required low skill, for rapid sample-to-result mycotoxin screening. We describe 3D-printed and interconnectable modules for simple, integrated and on-site sample preparation, including grinding of wheat kernels, and solvent-based extraction. We characterized these 3D-printed modules for mycotoxin screening and benchmarked them against a laboratory mill using commercial lateral flow device(s) (LFD) and in-house validated LC-MS/MS analysis. Different integrated sieve configurations were compared based on grinding efficiency, and we selected a sieve size of 2 mm allowing grinding of 10 g of wheat within 5 min. Moreover, 10 first time-users were able to operate the grinder module with minimal instructions. Screening for deoxynivalenol (DON) in naturally contaminated samples at the regulatory/legal limit (1.25 mg kg ) was demonstrated using the developed 3D-printed prototype. The whole process only takes 15 min, from sample preparation to screening result. The results showed a clear correlation (R = 0.96) between the LFD and LC-MS/MS. Our findings demonstrate the potential of 3D-printed sample handling equipment as a valuable extension of existing analytical procedures, facilitating the on-site implementation of rapid methods for the determination of mycotoxins in grains. The presented prototype is inexpensive with material costs of 2.5€, relies on biodegradable 3D printing filament and can be produced with consumer-grade printers, making the prototype readily available. As a future perspective, the modular character of our developed tool kit will allow for adaptation to other hard food commodities beyond the determination of DON in wheat.
Original languageEnglish
Article number342000
Number of pages9
JournalAnalytica Chimica Acta
Early online date15 Nov 2023
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2024


  • LC-MS/MS
  • Sample preparation
  • Mycotoxin screening
  • 3D printing
  • Chromatography, Liquid - methods
  • Triticum - chemistry
  • Portable
  • Food Contamination - analysis
  • Tandem Mass Spectrometry - methods
  • Lateral flow devices
  • Mycotoxins - analysis


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