Advancing Food Monitoring through Custom-Designed Affordable Sensors

Silvana Andreescu

Department of Chemistry and Biomolecular Science, Clarkson University

Ensuring sustainability of our environment and food systems is critical in addressing food security challenges while achieving social, economic and environmental goals. A key approach for advancing food safety and monitoring is to develop affordable technologies and universal tools to help the public and communities learn more about their natural resources, test and monitor their water and food supplies.  Portable and inexpensive sensors are increasingly important in providing rapid, real time and inexpensive measurements in the field. A key issue in the development of these devices is creating suitable surface chemistry with recognition capabilities for the selective binding of target analytes. This presentation will discuss development, manufacturing, analytical characterization and deployment of portable biosensors incorporating receptor molecules and smart receptor interfaces for monitoring active and functional ingredients in food and their possible implementation in the field.  These devices have a built-in detection mechanism, are portable and inexpensive and no specialized equipment is needed to perform analysis. Sensors are fabricated in large quantities from printable custom-made hydrogels or custom-designed paper and the low cost and ease of use are expected to advance large-scale food technologies, water and environmental monitoring applications.  These systems can provide important insight to monitor food, preserve and avoid waste and enhance sustainability.