Development of a novel homogeneous immunoassay using the engineered luminescent enzyme NanoLuc for the quantification of the mycotoxin fumonisin B1

Biosens Bioelectron. 2021 Apr 1:177:112939. doi: 10.1016/j.bios.2020.112939. Epub 2020 Dec 30.


Compared to the traditional heterogeneous assays, a homogeneous immunoassay is a preferred format for its simplicity. By cloning and isolating luminescent proteins from bioluminescent organisms, bioluminescence has been widely used for various biological applications. In this study, we present the development of a homogeneous luminescence immunoassay (FNanoBiT assay) for detection of fumonisin B1 (FB1), based on the binding of two subunits of an engineered luminescent protein (NanoLuc). For the detection of the mycotoxin FB1 in foods, the anti-fumonisin antibody was conjugated to the large subunit of NanoLuc (FLgBiT), and the FB1 was conjugated to the small subunit (FSmBiT). The conjugates were used for the detection of FB1 in a competitive immunoassay format without the need of a secondary antibody, or washing steps. The developed FNanoBiT assay revealed high specificity toward FB1 with no cross-reactivity with other mycotoxins, and it demonstrated acceptable recovery (higher than 94%) and relative standard deviation from spiked maize samples. Further, the assay was successfully applied for the detection of FB1 in naturally contaminated maize, with a dynamic range of 0.533-6.81 ng mL-1 and a detection limit of 0.079 ng mL-1. The results derived with FNanoBiT assay of all spiked samples showed a strong correlation to those obtained by the High-performance liquid chromatography method. Thus, the FNanoBiT based homogeneous immunoassay could be used as a rapid, and simple tool for the analysis of mycotoxin-contaminated foods.

Keywords: Biosensor; FLgBiT; FNanoBiT assay; FSmBiT; Fumonisin; Luminescence.

MeSH terms

  • Biosensing Techniques*
  • Food Contamination / analysis
  • Fumonisins* / analysis
  • Immunoassay
  • Luminescence
  • Mycotoxins* / analysis
  • Zea mays


  • Fumonisins
  • Mycotoxins
  • fumonisin B1