MIT Chemists Develop New Sensor to Detect Spoiled Food
Chemists have created a new technique that determines food spoilage by detecting the increased rates of ethylene. It is known that the more ripe fruits and vegetables become, the more ethylene they emit.
According to the German News Agency, MIT chemists have now created a tiny sensor that can detect this gas in concentrations as low as 15 parts per billion, which they believe could be useful in preventing food spoilage.
The Science Daily website quoted Timothy Swager, professor of Chemistry at MIT, as saying: "There is a persistent need for better food management and reduction of food waste. People who transport fruit around would like to know how it's doing during transit, and whether they need to take measures to keep ethylene down while they're transporting it."
The sensor is made from tiny carbon cylinders that contain a metal catalyst called palladium, which can detect the increasing rates of ethylene in food during a process called oxidation.
The sensor responds to ethylene within a few seconds of exposure, which would allow the people working in the food industry to detect spoilage in its first stages and take the necessary measures to protect the food.