Researchers at the University of Iowa printed a graphene sensor. It can determine histamine in the product – an allergen and an indicator of spoiled meat or fish. The new technology is very sensitive and recognizes histamine at 3.41 parts out of a million. Information about the development appeared on the university website.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has determined that the rate of histamine in fish should be no more than 50 ppm. This means that the new sensor is sensitive enough to work according to new standards.
For the new technology, the researchers used graphene – a material that is a carbon “honeycomb” with a thickness of just one atom, it is also known for its strength, electrical conductivity, flexibility, and biocompatibility. The practical use of graphene on a disposable food safety sensor is an inexpensive technology that works quite accurately to detect small molecules such as histamine.
This histamine sensor is not just for fish. Bacteria in food produce histamine. Thus, it can be a good indicator of the shelf life of food.
Carmen Gomez, Assistant Professor, Department of Engineering, Iowa
Researchers believe that the technology will work to detect other types of molecules. For example, by switching antibodies associated with imprinted sensors, they could detect Salmonella or cancer bacteria or determine if an animal is infected or not, such as bird flu.
At the moment, the new technology is in the process of licensing.