Researchers create “real-time” spoilage alert sensor
A team of scientists at Koç University have created a “revolutionary” sensor that they claim enables real-time spoilage alerts on food.
New research published in Nature Food Magazine has showcased a “user-friendly, cost-effective, and up-to-date” sensor that researchers claim can be applied on food directly and replace lab-monitoring.
The 2 x 2 cm miniature wireless device reportedly offers “real-time measurement” and is battery-free and mobile phone-compatible.
The researchers predict that it will be “highly effective”, particularly in high-protein foods such as beef, chicken, and fish.
The project was led by Dr Emin İstif (Molecular Biology and Genetics, Kadir Has University) and Assistant Professor Levent Beker (Mechanical Engineering, Koç University). They acknowledge that while there are existing solutions, they largely focus on the change in colour of food. However, they claim that their new device offers a capacitive measurement method, utilises near-field communication (NFC) technology with power-free and wireless communication “for the first time”.
The authors state that this eliminates “major disadvantages” encountered in resistive devices such as moisture sensitivity and incorrect data due to distance.
“The invention will not only provide companies the opportunity of reducing costs but also help consumers tremendously. Once widely commercialised, the device will enable continuous monitoring on shelves and allow users to control freshness right before buying a product or even before consumption at home,” claim the research team.
The researchers went on to note that the sensor will provide an opportunity of on-demand spoilage analysis via mobile phones which they claim will “ultimately help preventing food waste and food-borne diseases”.