A team of U.S.-based researchers have created an electrochemical food sensor using graphene capable of detecting allergens and toxins in food faster than existing lab-based tests. To achieve this, the team used aerosol-jet graphene ink printing, which gave them the flexibility to optimize the sensor layout and quickly experiment with different design prototypes.
Aerosol-jet printing of graphene minimized waste by only depositing the material exactly where it’s needed. Sensors produced using this method are inexpensive and portable, which could enable their use in applications where continuous on-site testing of food samples is needed to ensure quality.
In experimenting with their graphene biosensor, the research team found their device was able to detect allergens in fish broth faster and more accurately than existing laboratory tests. Significantly, the team’s biosensor could lead to on-site testing, eliminating the need for costly and time-consuming laboratory testing. The team said the technology could be further tailored to detect specific food pathogens like salmonella, fatal human diseases like cancer or HIV, or even animal and plant diseases like avian flu.
The team’s findings were recently published in the journal 2-D Materials.