Study: Smart Label Detects Food Spoilage Before It Happens

Friday, October 13th, 2017 | 233 Views

Researchers from US-based Clarkson University have developed a ‘smart label’ which is a portable and low cost paper-based sensor that detects food spoilage.


The ‘smart label’ works through the use of nanostructures and the sensors catch and bind the pre-determined compounds to detect change.

The product could tell consumers when the quality of food or drink products changes. The product’s quality can be detected based on the level of change on the label, which is emitted as a colour or electrical change. If commercialised, the paper-based sensor could transform the food and beverage marketplace.

“If the target is present, the colour or electrical current changes,” said Dr Silvana Andreescu, lead scientist of the study at Clarkson University. “These changes indicate if the compound is present and in what quantity, and if there are changes in the initial composition.”

The ‘smart label’ technology was developed over approximately ten years. Dr Andreescu worked closely with a team of students from Clarkson University and postdoctoral associates who contributed to the development of the paper-based sensor.

The initial testing of the label was initially focussed on detecting antioxidants in tea and wine but Dr Andreescu believes the technology can be used in other applications and that these first generation sensors can open the door to more advanced sensors in the future.

The research team is currently working on their second generation sensors to extend the application range, which include pesticides, adulterants and markers for freshness or spoilage of food in various stages of testing.