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Quick detection of aflatoxin M1 in milk

Aflatoxin M1Carcinogenic toxinDairy productsfast optical methodFood safety


This invention relates to a method and device for fast and direct quantification of aflatoxin M1 in milk, a carcinogenic mycotoxin arising from the aflatoxin B1 found in vegetable raw material on which farm animals are fed. This innovative test method will allow extensive and frequent milk  analysis directly within stables to prevent consumer intoxication.

Technical features

Some raw vegetable materials accrue plant pathogenic fungi that produce a toxic and carcinogenic mycotoxin for animals and humans, called aflatoxin B1 (AF-B1). When ingested by dairy animals through their food, their liver converts this into Aflatoxin M1 (AF-M1), which is then accumulated into the milk produced. AFM1 is dangerous to humans even at low concentrations so much so that the European cap is very restrictive (50 ng/kg of milk). The methods currently used to  quantify its presence require complex and time consuming sample purification and preparation processes that use chemical solvents that produce waste. Other methods do not generate accurate measurements. This invention has developed a spectral detection system which, through the use of a sensor, from 2 to 6 minutes provides a specific signal of the concentration of the toxin, without producing waste. This portable device can be used directly in farms and dairy industries. The limit of detection (LOD) of this method is 3 ng/kg, with verified capture range up to 100 ng/kg. This invention has been developed on whole cow’s milk.

Possible Applications

  • Control for raw milk in pre-harvest (stable), bulk milk (Centrale del latte) and on whey and milk derivatives;
  • Preliminary control by food safety authorities (ULSS) and fraud prevention (NAS).


  • Fast and precise analysis;
  • Small and portable device; easy to use and no need to train staff;
  • On-site (stables) measurement;
  • No operating costs and management costs;
  • Green method: does not produce waste;