The test looks for deoxynivalenol (DON) levels in crops like barley, wheat and oats.
A research officer said current methods of testing DON levels aren’t as accurate as the one the university has developed.
“Our accuracy came close to 99 per cent precision and we can detect a very low concentration of this mycotoxin in grains,” Lipu Wang said.
The team is also looking at which strains have the lowest levels of mycotoxins and will look to breed those strains in order to prevent the spread of DON.
In extreme cases, DON can reduce the market value of a crop and can even be harmful to people and animals.
However, recent tests done by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency haven’t found unsafe levels of DON in recent years.
The new test extracts mycotoxins using chemicals and then injects those toxins into a mass spectrometer to identify them.
The Saskatchewan Wheat Development Commission said contaminations can cause market value losses ranging from 40 to 65 per cent.
“If you’re looking to know how your seed is or your grade, whether it’s still going to have a chance of making milling quality or might end up in a feed market — just being able to have those answers quicker,” said chairperson Brett Halstead.
The most common test takes about 20 minutes, while this test can be completed in less than two.