A new plastic film has been developed to help prevent consumers from food poisoning.
Carlos Filipe and colleagues have developed a new flexible film that's coated in molecules that glow when they touch e. coli cells.
The sensors are the size of postage stamps and glow when tested on tainted meat and apple juice, but not when it touches unspoiled samples. In order to see the glow, it must be viewed under an ultraviolet lamp or a fluorescence scanner. Smartphone apps have been developed for consumers use and grocery stores could potentially provide scanners.
Filipe and his team plan to make the films glow in the presence of other bacteria. Food packaging equipped with such microbe monitors could help end the spread of foodborne illnesses.
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