A Colorimetric Sensor for Biogenic Diamines to be Molecularly Imprinted into Polymers
One of the more obvious problems with food safety is determining the degree of spoilage in foods, namely meat products. It has been established that the generation of biogenic diamines, cadaverine and histamine, by bacteria may be directly linked to the bacterial content of spoiled meat. Food poisoning is caused by ingesting toxins produced by the activity of food borne microorganisms. These toxins are often relatively heat stable and are capable of surviving the cooking process. Meat spoilage occurs as bacteria begin to grow unchecked at the time of slaughter. One of the markers of meat spoilage is the decarboxylation of free amino acids on and in the meat by enzymes released by spoilage microorganisms. Two of these products, putrescence and cadaverine, are particularly distinctive in odor, and correlate well with surface bacteria counts, and are widely used to evaluate meat freshness by both trained meat inspectors and individual consumers. Another product, histamine, is of interest due to its apparent ability to potentate histamine intoxication, a form of food poisoning associated with the consumption of spoiled fish. Accordingly, there is a need for a robust sensor device which accurately, simply and rapidly detect the presence of biogenic amines in food products.
This invention is an inexpensive material that indicates meat spoilage through a color change. Researchers at The Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory have developed a sensor which exhibits selective binding affinity for biogenic amine and undergoes a detectable change in absorption or emission of electromagnetic radiation upon exposure to biogenic amine. Upon contact with biogenic amines such as putrescence (1,4-diaminopentane), cadaverine (1,5-diaminopentane), and/or histamine (5-imidazole-ethylamine), the polymer typical undergoes a detectable and quick color change from green to red. This polymer can be employed by itself or as a sensor to monitor the presence of biogenic amine in food products, particularly meats and fish. For example, the polymer can be easily incorporated into common food containers to provide and easily detectable indication of probable spoilage of food contents within the container, or employed in fiber optic detection devices. Industrial losses incurred through wasted produces suspected to be spoiled are significant. It will be advantageous to have a clear indication of spoilage for each package rather than speculating on entire lots based upon random testing.
*Currently, the technology has had exciting advancements from ongoing research and development. It is positioned for commerciallization through a corporate licensee.CONTACT: