This study developed a simple and rapid strategic technique to detect ractopamine (chemical growth-promoting agent) in pork. Two highly sensitive and specific gold nanoparticle-based portable sensors, i.e., localized surface plasmon resonance (LSPR) sensors, and lateral flow immunoassay (LFIA) strips were developed to detect veterinary drug residues in food products, that have detrimental effects on humans. Optimization studies were conducted on several sensor devices to improve sensitivity. Each sensor comprised functionalized gold nanoparticles conjugated with ractopamine antibodies. The LSPR sensor chip achieved excellent detection sensitivity = 1.19 fg/mL and was advantageous for quantitative analysis due to its wide dynamic range. On the other hand, LFIA strips provided visual test confirmation and achieved 2.27 ng/mL detection sensitivity, significantly less sensitive than LSPR. The complementary sensors help overcome each other's shortcomings with both the techniques offering ease of use, affordability and rapid diagnosis. Thus, these sensors can be applied on-site for routine screening of harmful drug residues in pork meat. They also provide useful direction for advanced technologies to enhance assay performance for detecting various other food drug contaminants.

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

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