Portable nanopore technology enables fruit analysis right in the field

In analytical chemistry and biosensing, there’s a constant search for better ways to quickly and accurately analyze complex biological samples. Traditional techniques, such as High-Performance Liquid Chromatography (HPLC), spectrophotometry, and mass spectrometry, have been the cornerstone of analytical practices for decades. However, these methods often fall short in the direct and rapid analysis of complex mixtures without extensive sample pretreatment. This is particularly true in the context of analyzing cis-diols in natural products, such as fruits, where their diverse composition poses significant analytical challenges.

Fruits, tea, honey, and vegetables contain a wide array of chemical compounds, including sugars, vitamins, and organic acids, which contribute to their taste, nutritional value, and overall health benefits. While cis-diols themselves might not be frequently highlighted in discussions about fruit or vegetable biochemistry, their presence can influence chemical reactions, possibly impacting flavor, aroma, nutritional value, and preservation characteristics. Therefore, a thorough understanding of these compounds in food is essential for nutritional or healthcare purposes.

A recent article in Nature Communications presents a method for the direct and rapid analysis of cis-diols in various fruits using engineered nanopore sensors. The method leverages a modified Mycobacterium smegmatis porin A (MspA) nanopore, integrated with a phenylboronic acid (PBA) adapter, allowing for the precise recognition of cis-diols such as 1,2-diphenols, alditols, α-hydroxy acids, and saccharides found in prunes, grapes, lemons, kiwifruits, and commercial juice products.

The proposed nanopore sensor significantly simplifies the pretreatment process and, combined with a custom machine learning program, achieves an impressive 99.3% accuracy in identifying various analytes. The research underscores the sensor’s ability to detect enantiomers, such as DL-malic acids, showcasing potential applications in identifying synthetic food additives and enhancing food safety and quality control measures.

To demonstrate the technique’s portability, nanopore analysis of fruits was also carried out with an Orbit mini portable bilayer recording device, demonstrating its capability to conduct nanopore sensing outside traditional laboratory environments, underscoring the potential for on-site food analysis.

In conclusion, the successful application of nanopore sensors for analyzing natural fruit juices demonstrates the versatility and potential of engineered nanopores as highly sensitive and selective sensors for complex biological analyses. While challenges remain in further enhancing the detection limits and quantification accuracy, this study makes a significant contribution to the future development of nanopore-based sensing techniques.

For more details, please refer to the paper here: Nanopore analysis of cis-diols in fruits

Discover how the Orbit mini can enhance your nanopore research: https://www.nanion.de/products/orbit-mini/