Mycotoxins (MYTs), a class of low molecular weight secondary metabolites produced by filamentous fungi in food and feed, pose serious global threat to both human health and world economy. Due to their mutagenic, teratogenic, carcinogenic and immunosuppressive effects, the International Agency for Research on Cancer has classified various MYTs under Group 1 to 3 category with aflatoxins being designated under Group 1 category (carcinogenic to humans). Also, the presence of MYTs in trace amounts in diverse food matrices necessitates exploration of highly sensitive methods for onsite analysis. Although conventional chromatographic methods are highly sensitive, they are expensive, tedious and cannot be applied for rapid onsite analysis. In recent years the application of nanomaterials especially carbon-based nanomaterials (CNMs) in the fabrication of low-cost and miniaturized electrochemical and optical sensors has enabled rapid onsite analysis of MYTs with high sensitivity and specificity. Moreover, the CNMs are employed as effective solid phase extraction (SPE) adsorbents possessing high specific surface area for effective enrichment of MYTs to improve the sensitivity of chromatographic methods for MYT analysis in food. This article aims to overview the recent trends in the application of CNMs as SPE adsorbents for sample pretreatment in chromatographic methods as well as in the fabrication of highly sensitive electrochemical and optical sensors for rapid analysis of MYTs in food. Initially, the efficiency of various functionalized CNMs developed recently as adsorbent in packed SPE cartridges and dispersive SPE adsorbent/purification powder is discussed. Then, their application in the development of various electrochemical immunosensors involving functionalized carbon nanotubes/nanofibers, graphene oxide, reduced graphene oxide and graphene quantum dots is summarized. In addition, the recent trends in the use of CNMs for fabrication of electrochemical and fluorescence aptasensors as well as some other colorimetry, fluorometry, surface-enhanced Raman spectroscopy and electrochemical based sensors are compared and tabulated. Collectively, this review article can provide a research update on analysis of MYTs by carbon-based nanomaterials paving a way for identifying future perspectives.

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.