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Packaging Sensor to Detect Food Spoilage

The overall purpose of this project is to develop a prototype packaging sensor designed to indicate the amount of spoilage in packaged seafood (to be referred to as the Freshdicator) based on amine (e.g., scrombotoxin, or histamine, which causes scromboid poisoning) concentration.

The sensor chemistry is based on proprietary non-enzymatic (non-ELISA) amine modification/detection chemistry for the analysis of amines.

The Freshdicator is a thin circular wafer placed in direct contact with the seafood sample before final wrapping is put into place. In the absence of amines, the wafer remains white. If amines are present, they react to form a stable dye/amine adduct that freely diffuses to the surface of the device, resulting in a visible color change, and indicating the food is no longer safe for consumption. Overall, the wafer acts as a dosimeter to determine the total amount of amine generated during fish spoilage. The color change will be calibrated against organoleptic evaluation to indicate when food is no longer safe for consumption. Although the reaction is most selective for amines, a much slower reaction of the dye with water will result in a color change, providing a secondary mode of action that is indicative of time/temperature aging of the sample. This technology can also be targeted to other food products.