Traditionally, a person may have to smell meat to see if it is safe to consume or not. This method depends upon the sensitivity of your sense of smell to detect if the meat is rotten or not. However, recently scientists have discovered a more advanced method as an alternative, which involves a gas sensor communicating with your smartphone to detect the spoilage.
The technology is developed by a team led by Lijia Pan, Yi Shi (both from China’s Nanjing University) and Guihua Yu (from The University of Texas at Austin), the sensor is integrated into a small flat NFC tag. The sensor is able to detect compounds known as biogenic amines (BAs), which create the unpleasant odor of decomposing meat. The sensor itself is composed of a nanostructured conductive polymer.
The results of a lab test indicate that the sensor tags were able to quantify the amounts of BAs that were significant enough to indicate spoilage when the sensor tags were placed right next to raw meat that was left for 24 hours at a temperature of 30 ºC. These amounts would go unnoticed by the human nose as the odor was not strong enough. While doing so, the sensors switched on the NFC tags automatically which allowed them to transmit an alert on the smartphone app wirelessly. The smartphone was required to be held within about 4 inches of the meat.
The commercialized version of this technology is highly anticipated that would be packaged along with raw meat, letting both customers and food suppliers know if it’s decomposed simply by holding their phone near it.