New indicator to quickly tell if food has gone bad

New Indicator to Quickly tell if Food has Gone Bad

A team of researchers from Busan National University has developed a portable molecular sensor for the detection of biogenic amines (BAs) in foods. When identifying nitrogenous compounds harmful to the body, the device signals a change in its color.

“Quick and easy monitoring of harmful BAs released from tainted foods can alert us, prevent tainted meat from being eaten, maintain food quality, and create additional efficient conditions for food storage and distribution in the supply chain,” says Prof. Sungbaek Seo, Associate Professor of the Department Biomaterials Busan National University.

To create the device, the group combined the property of a polydiacetylene-based (PDA) hydrogel that can change color when bound to BA and an alginate solution. Designed as small bead-shaped sensors, biogenic amines such as cadaverine and propylamine are easily detected in both solution and vapor due to a distinct color change from blue to red.

The researchers used the sensor to test samples of pork meat left at room temperature for 4 days, and the sensors showed a distinct color change upon contact. These portable balls can be used for food quality control during storage and supply chain.