Recent Progress on Single-Molecule Detection Technologies for Food Safety

Zhuoqun Su, Tong Li, Di Wu, Yongning Wu, Guoliang Li

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Rapid and sensitive detection technologies for food contaminants play vital roles in food safety. Due to the complexity of the food matrix and the trace amount distribution, traditional methods often suffer from unsatisfying accuracy, sensitivity, or specificity. In past decades, single-molecule detection (SMD) has emerged as a way to realize the rapid and ultrasensitive measurement with low sample consumption, showing a great potential in food contaminants detection. For instance, based on the nanopore technique, simple and effective methods for single-molecule analysis of food contaminants have been developed. To our knowledge, there has been a rare review that focuses on SMD techniques for food safety. The present review attempts to cover some typical SMD methods in food safety, including electrochemistry, optical spectrum, and atom force microscopy. Then, recent applications of these techniques for detecting food contaminants such as biotoxins, pesticides, heavy metals, and illegal additives are reviewed. Finally, existing research challenges and future trends of SMD in food safety are also tentatively proposed.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)458-469
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of agricultural and food chemistry
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 05 Jan 2022


  • single-molecule detection
  • food safety
  • nanopore
  • food contaminants


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