IIT-M develops paper-based sensor for food safety analysis


The sensor can be used for the detection of antibiotics and heavy metals

Researchers at Indian Institute of Technology Madras (IIT-M) and United Kingdom have developed a paper-based sensor that can detect antimicrobial pollutants, which induce antimicrobial resistance in water bodies. This sensor works on a ‘see and tell’ mechanism that makes it logistically effective for wide implementation.

The sensor can be used for the detection of antibiotics such as ciprofloxacin, biocides such as triclosan and heavy metals such as chromium, copper and lead. Paper-based sensor offers an affordable platform for various point-of-care applications as they support fluid flow based on a wicking action and governed by capillary force. Food safety analysis is one of the many applications offered by the paper-based sensor.

The novel strategy for low-cost fabrication of the robust laser printed-microfluidic paper-based analytical sensors will help to detect antimicrobials easily in the parts per million range.

Speaking about the current Indo-UK project, Dr. T. Renganathan, Associate Professor, Department of Chemical Engineering, IIT Madras, said, “We use a normal laser printer without any modification and it offers high resolution and accuracy. The hydrophobic barriers are compatible against organic solvents and high temperature. The developed laser printed paper-based microfluidic sensor is a viable option for large scale manufacturing and enables routine monitoring of pollutants in both developed and resource constrained regions.”

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