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What You Need to Know about the Smartphone Food Sensor

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It is estimated that globally 1.4 billion tons of food is wasted every year. Not only does the amount of food wastage have adverse effects on the world economy, but also contributes to 10% of greenhouse emissions.

Major Health Risk

Spoilt food is also a health risk – containing harmful bacteria that can cause food poisoning. Research conducted by the World Food Programme, indicates that all the excess food produced but never eaten, could feed up to 2 billion people.

Researchers from Koc University in Turkey, recently developed a sensor that detects food spoilage in real time by sending alerts to a smartphone device.

Real-Time Food Spoilage Detection

The sensor was tested on packaged chicken breasts and rib steak by storing them in various conditions – in a freezer, in a refrigerator, and at room temperature.

The sensor is able to pick up when biogenic amines are produced – which usually increases as meat decays.

The capacitance of the sensor tracking the room – temperature samples increased over 3 days. The researchers claim that this indicates that the sensor successfully detected spoilage.

The research team highlighted that, “On the third day, the room-temperature-stored samples showed a 700% change in sensor response compared with the samples stored in a freezer, which proves the sensor operation for the detection of spoilage.”

Near – Field Communication Technology

The sensor is comprised of an easily synthesized polymer layered over electrodes that detect biogenic amines produced by protein – rich diets via capacitive sensing.

It is 0.3 in in size and weighs roughly 2g. With a chip that connects to a smartphone, the sensor employs near-field communication technology to communicate measurements in real time via a wireless antenna.

When an NFC-compatible smartphone nears the sensor, the chip is activated.

Revolutionizing Food Freshness Monitoring

This innovative tool, is set to revolutionize the way the freshness of food is monitored. The research team, led by Dr Emin Istif, a Molecular Biology and Genetics Kadir, are still in the process of perfecting the sensor.

However, once it is successful the tool will have the potential to make significant contributions towards reducing food wastage and enhance food safety across the globe.

The technology may also be helpful for consumers and encourage them to check food products before making purchases.

// Staff Writer

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