2,4,6-trichloroanisole (TCA) is a microbial metabolite formed from chlorophenols through the activity of several natural fungal strains present on the cork oak bark. TCA is the primary compound responsible for the mousty/mould off-odour known as “cork taint” present in cork stoppers, wine, water and alcoholic beverages. Chromatographic and electrochemical methods are currently used for the determination of TCA, however its detection at low concentrations remains a technical challenge. The aim of this study was the development of a rapid novel biosensor system based on the Bioelectric Recognition Assay (BERA). The sensor measured the electric response of cultured membrane-engineered fibroblast cells suspended in an alginate gel matrix due to the change of their membrane potential in the presence of the analyte. Membrane-engineered cells were prepared by osmotic insertion of 0.5µg/l of specific TCA antibodies into the membrane of the cells. The BERA-based sensor was able to detect TCA in a few minutes (3-5min) at extremely low concentrations (10-1ppt), thus demonstrating higher sensitivity than the human sensory threshold. In addition, the assay was quite selective against other haloanisoles and halophenols structurally related to or co-occurring with TCA. Finally the sensor was tested against real white wine samples from cork soaks. At this real test, the BERA sensor was able to detect TCA from cork soaks rapidly (3-5min) at very low concentrations (1.02-12ng/l), covering the whole range for the detection threshold for wines (1.4-10ng/l). Therefore, this novel biosensor offers new perspectives for ultra-rapid, ultra-sensitive and low-cost monitoring of TCA presence in cork and wine and possibly also other food commodities. (We recommend that you consult the full text of this article)