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New 'Smart Label' Shows Freshness of Packaged Fish

Sustainability Technology & equipment Processing +5 more

SPAIN - The Polymer Research Group at the University of Burgos has developed a 'smart tag' that tells consumers the freshness of packaged fish by changing colour, in a way easily perceptible by the human eye.

The new technology, protected by a patent, consists of a new polymeric material with colorimetric properties, which changes colour in the presence of biogenic amines.

These nitrogen compounds are found in foods and beverages fermented by lactic acid bacteria and in a high concentration or in sensitive individuals they may cause symptoms of toxicity.

The amount of biogenic amines present determines microbial spoilage in canned fish and therefore its optimum consumption, preventing poisoning by eating spoiled product.

Among the advantages of this technology is its versatility in design and employment. The smart tags can be made in different formats, depending on needs, to allow the coating of other polymeric and non-polymeric materials by conventional methods, such as printing.

Researcher José Miguel Garcia Perez highlighted that "the main applications focus on food quality and safety of fish packaging, allowing both the consumer and the food industry to have a reliable product control."

"The versatility of the material developed also enables the manufacture of smart textiles, able to determine biogenic amines in the workplace, avoiding possible contamination from the place of origin of food packaging," he added.

With the development of this new patent, the Polymer Research Group now has eight protected technological developments in the field of chemical detection of analytes of great interest in the chemical industry.