Taking the urban population into account, food-borne diseases and food waste come under the most crucial issues that are being faced currently. As food spoilage remains to be the major cause of this waste, the conditions of transporting, processing, and conserving food still need to be enhanced under the technological advancements available currently.
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In laboratories, present monitoring processes are performed and make use of expensive chromatographic devices. For these technologies, unreasonable resources and skilled personnel are required.
Now, a study reported in the journal Nature Food Magazine presents an alternative: a new, easy-to-use, profitable, and up-to-date sensor that could be employed on food directly and substitute lab monitoring.
In the study, a 2 × 2 cm miniature wireless device provides real-time measurement and is smartphone-compatible and battery-free. It has been anticipated to be highly efficient, particularly in high-protein foods like fish, beef, and chicken.
The study was headed by Dr. Emin İstif (Molecular Biology and Genetics, Kadir Has University) and Assistant Professor Levent Beker (Mechanical Engineering, Koç University) with the contribution of Professor İskender Yılgör and Dr. Emel Yılgör (Chemistry, Koç University), Assistant Professor Çağdaş Dağ (Molecular Biology and Genetics, Koç University) and Assistant Professor Hatice Ceylan Koydemir (Texas A&M University).
While present solutions available focus on the change in food color, this new device, for the first time, provides a capacitive measurement technique and hence makes use of the near field communication (NFC) technology with wireless and power-free communication.
The authors show that this removes significant drawbacks encountered in resistive devices like moisture sensitivity and faulty data as a result of the distance.
The invention will not only offer companies the chance to decrease charges but also help consumers immensely.
As soon as extensive commercialization is done, the device will allow constant tracking on shelves and enable users to regulate freshness just before buying a product or even before using it at home. This chance of on-demand spoilage analysis through mobile phones will eventually help avoid food-borne diseases and food waste.
With the availability of accessibility and profitability, the study authors believe it adds up to the greater struggle against greenhouse emissions and global warming more rapidly and efficiently.
Istif, E., et al. (2023) Miniaturized wireless sensor enables real-time monitoring of food spoilage. Nature Food. doi.org/10.1038/s43016-023-00750-9.