1. Agriculture World

Food Technology: This New Sensor can Detect Pesticide Residues on Fruits and Vegetables

Food safety is of the utmost importance in the post-Covid era. It is important to thoroughly clean vegetables and fruits before eating them, as has been emphasized numerous times over the last two years.

Kritika Madhukar
These nano-sensors rely on a 1970s discovery known as Surface-Enhanced Raman Scattering (SERS)
These nano-sensors rely on a 1970s discovery known as Surface-Enhanced Raman Scattering (SERS)

The World Health Organization (WHO) recently observed World Food Safety Day on June 7 to emphasize the importance of eating healthy, safe, and chemical-free food to help prevent food-borne diseases. 

And now, technological innovation is aimed at addressing food safety concerns, particularly regarding fresh produce. The Karolinska Institute in Sweden has developed a small sensor that may be useful in detecting pesticides on fruits.

The findings have been published in the academic journal 'Advanced Science.' Although the nano-sensors are still in their early stages, they may help in the detection of food pesticides before consumption. The invention's concept is to allow local stores and supermarkets to detect harmful chemicals on the products they sell before they cause harm to human health. 

These nano-sensors rely on a 1970s discovery known as Surface-Enhanced Raman Scattering (SERS), which has been applied in fields other than food. They use a flame-spraying method to deposit nanoparticles on a glass surface, which helps boost chemical signals and detect pesticides in minutes.

"Reports show that up to half of all fruits sold in the EU contain pesticides that have been linked to human health problems in huge numbers," says Georgios Sotiriou, principal researcher at Karolinska Institutet's Department of Microbiology, Tumor and Cell Biology and the study's corresponding author.

"Our sensors can detect pesticide residues on apple surfaces in five minutes without damaging the fruit," said Haipeng Li, a postdoctoral researcher in Sotiriou's lab and the study's first author. "While they need to be validated in larger studies," he continues, "we offer a proof-of-concept practical application for food safety testing at scale before consumption."

Share your comments

Subscribe to our Newsletter. You choose the topics of your interest and we'll send you handpicked news and latest updates based on your choice.

Subscribe Newsletters