Label-Free Mycotoxin Raman Identification by High-Performing Plasmonic Vertical Carbon Nanostructures

Neelakandan M. Santhosh, Vasyl Shvalya, Martina Modic, Nataša Hojnik, Janez Zavašnik, Jaka Olenik, Martin Košiček, Gregor Filipič, Ibrahim Abdulhalim, Uroš Cvelbar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Mycotoxins are widespread chemical entities in the agriculture and food industries that can induce cancer growth and immune deficiency, posing a serious health threat for humankind. These hazardous compounds are produced naturally by various molds (fungi) that contaminate different food products and can be detected in cereals, nuts, spices, and other food products. However, their detection, especially at minimally harmful concentrations, remains a serious analytical challenge. This research shows that high-performing plasmonic substrates (analytical enhancement factor = 5 × 107) based on plasma-grown vertical hollow carbon nanotubes can be applied for immediate detection of the most toxic mycotoxins. Due to excellent sensitivity allowing operation at ppb concentrations, it is possible to collect vibrational fingerprints of aflatoxin B1, zearalenone, alternariol, and fumonisin B1, highlighting the key spectral differences between them using principal component analysis. Regarding time-consuming conventional methods, including thin-layer chromatography, gas chromatography, high-performance liquid chromatography, and enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay, the designed surface-enhanced Raman spectroscopy substrates provide a clear roadmap to reducing the detection time-scale of mycotoxins down to seconds.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2103677
Issue number49
StatePublished - 1 Dec 2021


  • SERS substrate
  • mycotoxins detection
  • plasma-enhanced deposition
  • vertical carbon nanostructures

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • General Chemistry
  • Biomaterials
  • General Materials Science


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