Researchers have developed an artificial olfactory system capable of accurately assessing the freshness of meat or fish flesh. The device could be easily applied to packaging and read through a mobile application.
In recent years, sensors have been developed to warn us when food starts to spoil. A team from the Technological University of Nanyang (Singapore) is now offering another solution. This new “electronic nose” consists of a barcode capable of changing color in reaction to gases produced by decaying flesh and a reader integrated into a mobile application powered by an AI to interpret the combination of colors on the body. barcode. Details of the study are published in Advanced Materials.
Distinguish the freshness of the flesh by Electronic nose
Concretely, this electronic nose imitates the functioning of the nose of a mammal. When gases produced by decaying flesh bind to our receptors, signals are generated and transmitted to our brain. The latter collects this data to organize it into patterns that allow us to identify the odor present as the meat ages and rots.
In this new device, the twenty bars of the barcode act like these types of receivers. Each bar is made from chitosan (a natural sugar) embedded on a cellulose derivative and loaded with a different type of color. These dyes react in response to different types and concentrations of gases.
Reduce food waste
In the context of the various tests carried out on samples of chicken or beef and fish meat wrapped in cellophane, the algorithm that powers the electronic nose would then have predicted the freshness of the samples with an accuracy of 98.5%.
“ Our artificial olfactory system delivers results in a short time without the cumbersome wiring used to collect electrical signals offered by some recently developed electronic noses,” says Chen Xiaodong, who designed the device. “ These barcodes could help consumers not to waste food and therefore save money by ensuring that products that are still safe to eat are not thrown away ”.
It also emphasizes the biodegradable and non-toxic nature of barcodes. In other words, it means that they could be applied safely to the packaging. The team is currently working with a food company in Singapore to extend this concept to other types of perishables.