Publication Date

Fall 2010

Document Type

Project Summary

Degree Name

Master of Science


Analytical Chemistry

First Advisor

Walter Henne, Jr., Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Patty Fu-Giles, Ph.D.

Third Advisor

Joseph B. Addison, Ph.D.


One of the largest challenges that food manufactures are facing today is the management of food allergens. Allergenic protein in trace amounts, part per million concentrations, will trigger a reaction in some individuals. Food manufacturers need to prevent allergen cross-contamination by performing adequate sanitation after production of an allergenic containing food. Allergen detection kits are used to determine if sufficient protein was removed from the equipment surfaces during sanitation. One kit on the market is the 3M™ Clean- Trace™ Surface Protein (Allergen) swab tests. The test qualitatively detects the presence of protein based on the biuret reaction and will yield a purple color if protein is present. The disadvantages of the swab test are the determination of the color is based subjective visual inspection and the quantity of protein present is unknown. In this project a quantitative method for reading 3M™ Clean- Trace™ Surface Protein (Allergen) swab tests kits was developed using a micro plate assay. Bovine serum albumin (BSA), egg whites, non-fat dry milk (NFDM), and soy isolate were applied to the swab test at various quantities and the absorbance of the test kit solution was measured at 560nm. With this quantitative approach it was possible to detect 2μg of BSA, 5μg of egg whites, NFDM, and soy isolate. The method provided increased sensitivity from the traditional visual color determination which detected 6ug BSA, 10ug of egg whites, 15ug of soy isolate and inconclusive results for the 15μg of NFDM. The use of this approach will reduce excess cleaning of equipment surfaces for food manufacturers by providing a quantitative result for low quantities of protein, where the visual color determination is subjective or ambiguous.