Food Quality Sensors Discussed at Pittcon 2013

Hello Earth !

I am excited that recently I was able to attend Pittcon 2013, the 64th Conference and Exposition for Analytical Chemistry and Applied Spectroscopy that was held in Philadelphia.  This year, with more than 18,000 attendees and more than 1000 exhibiting companies, Pittcon provided an excellent forum for reporting new technical achievements in analytical chemistry, measurement science, and materials characterization and providing the opportunity of learning about new products that support our research and make it more productive.

Together with Prof. Fiorenzo Omenetto from the Department of Biomedical Engineering, Tufts University I co-organized an Invited Symposium “Sensors for food quality and safety: from the lab to unobtrusive applications”. We had speakers from US Government (Dr. Betsy Jean Yakes from US Food and Drug Administration), academia (Prof. Michael McAlpine from Princeton University and Prof. Fiorenzo Omenetto from Tufts University), and industry (Dr. Leonardo Bonifacio from Opalux and Dr. Radislav Potyrailo from GE Global Research) who demonstrated new opportunities in sensors for food quality and safety that are emerging from the recent developments in sensor technology.

Invited speakers and co-organizers of the Invited Symposium “Sensors for food quality and safety: from the lab to unobtrusive applications” that was held at Pittcon 2013 in Philadelphia, PA March 17-21, 2013. From left: Prof. Michael McAlpine (Princeton University), Prof. Fiorenzo Omenetto (Tufts University), Dr. Radislav Potyrailo (GE Global Research), Dr. Betsy Jean Yakes (US Food and Drug Administration), and Dr. Leonardo Bonifacio (Opalux).

Our speakers critically analyzed innovative strategies on how to accomplish measurements of food condition, freshness, and quality using sensors based on photonic, radio-frequency, microwave, and terahertz detection modalities and how to advance these sensor developments from the detailed studies in the laboratory to their practical unobtrusive applications.  At this symposium we have discussed that recent innovations in transducer technologies, sensing materials, data processing, and fabrication principles have facilitated significant achievements in chemical and biological sensing. We showed that modern sensors have demonstrated detection limits down to single molecule levels and sub-second response times, the ability to reject environmental interferences and preserve sensor-response accuracy.  These and many other recent advances in sensing science are facilitating the applications of sensors for the real time determination of food quality and insuring food safety with previously unavailable capabilities.