Researchers from Seoul National University have developed a new artificial olfactory system (AOS) that can detect food spoilage and provide real-time feedback on the food condition. The AOS is based on a chip that integrates sensing and computing units, mimicking the biological olfactory system. The chip uses thin zinc oxide films that can sense very low levels of hydrogen sulfide and ammonia gases, which are indicators of high-protein food spoilage. The AOS is energy-efficient and can operate continuously throughout the spoilage process.
AOS tested on chicken tenderloin
The researchers tested their AOS on chicken tenderloin, a common type of meat that is prone to spoilage. They monitored the changes in the gas concentrations and the freshness scores of the chicken over time. They found that the AOS could accurately track the spoilage process and provide real-time information on the food condition. The AOS could also distinguish between different stages of spoilage, such as fresh, slightly spoiled, and severely spoiled.
AOS could have various applications
The researchers believe that their AOS could have various applications in the food industry and beyond. For example, the AOS could be used to monitor the quality and safety of food products during storage, transportation, and distribution. The AOS could also be used to reduce food waste by alerting consumers and retailers when food is about to spoil or has already spoiled. Furthermore, the AOS could be adapted to detect other types of gases or substances by changing the gas-sensing materials and other parameters.
AOS is a breakthrough in artificial olfaction
The AOS developed by the researchers is a breakthrough in artificial olfaction, as it overcomes some of the limitations of previous electronic noses. Unlike conventional electronic noses, which require external power sources, data transmission devices, and data processing units, the AOS is self-contained and operates independently. The AOS is also more sensitive, faster, and more reliable than existing electronic noses. The researchers hope that their AOS will pave the way for more advanced artificial olfaction systems in the future.