Soon, this $30 smartphone add-on might be able to stop food poisoning

 

To evaluate food and find out if it contains harmful germs, researchers have created a smartphone app that works with a $30 microscope attachment.

Eating or drinking food or water that has been contaminated with parasites, germs, toxins, or chemicals can result in food poisoning. The symptoms, which can range from minor intestinal pain to severe dehydration, vomiting, and diarrhea, can appear within hours. If the food is not handled or cooked properly, contamination might happen even at home.

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48 million Americans get sick from a foodborne illness every year, 128,000 are hospitalized, and 3,000 people pass away, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Because it requires specialized, expensive equipment to detect hazardous bacteria, there are very few techniques for preventing food poisoning. Currently available technology also needs germs to proliferate for 24 to 48 hours before a large enough sample can be obtained for testing. However, things can soon change.

Soon, this $30 mobile phone microscope might be able to stop food poisoning.

University of Massachusetts Amherst food scientists are developing technology that can bind to even the tiniest amounts of bacteria. Watch the process in the video down below.

A user puts the chip into the liquid after rinsing a contaminated food item with water. This is a specifically coated chip that draws and binds microorganisms using 3-mercaptophenylboronic acid (3-MBPA). The germs are shown in a half-hour by the microscope, which is attached to any smartphone camera.

UMass microbiologist Lynne McLandsborough claimed that bacteria can cause illness even in very, very little amounts.

“Therefore, detection needs to pick up on low numbers.”

As it cannot tell healthy bacteria from harmful, this is more of a proof-of-concept than a functional gadget. It will be several years before a commercial product is available.

Consumers are expected to eventually purchase the inexpensive testing kit for their own kitchens. Aid workers responding to natural disasters might potentially utilize the device. It is not unexpected that a number of food processing companies have already expressed interest in the technology.

“While most individuals in the globe boil their vegetables before eating them, more and more Americans prefer to consume these meals raw. We decided that a simple test that could be carried out at home would be a good idea as a result. Lili He, a food scientist, remarked.

Currently, microbial contamination is a hot study issue. Although it has been a problem for a while, it is currently the U.S.‘s top concern for food safety.

 

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