A luminescence reaction modeled on fireflies may detect organophosphates with a high sensitivity, ease, and low cost. A new enzymatic method for the synthesis of analogues of luciferin, the substance that makes fireflies glow, has been found. As previously reported, it might be used in the laboratory.
The widespread use of toxic organophosphate pesticides (OPs) is a serious worldwide environmental and health problem. Among the concerns are acute, often fatal poisoning cases in agriculture, especially in developing nations. A large amount of pesticide residues that accumulate in food chains and freshwater reservoirs where they may incite cancer, Alzheimers, and diabetes, for example. In the EU and the United States, OPs are strictly regulated.
Conventional chromatography/mass spectrometry is complex, costly, and not suitable for use in poor countries or remote areas. Test kits are generally not sensitive, and are unreliable. A team from Thailand and Japan has now developed an inexpensive, inexpensive, simple test that detects OPs directly in foods and biological samples with high specificity and extreme sensitivity without sample preparation.
HELP is a method used in biochemical research and analysis of toxic chemicals. Among others, the researchers created two previously unknown luciferin analogues. This allows for real-time imaging and reduces the need for animal experiments.
HELP is a complementary method for measuring organophosphates. The first step is that an enzyme from soil bacteria breaks down the OPs and/or their metabolites into phenol derivatives. The second step is, for example, the luciferin derivative, which is then converted into a bioluminescence signal. This technique can be used to distinguish between different OPs. The researchers was able to detect five particularly harmful organophosphates without sample preparation.