VIETNAM/RUSSIA – A development in food technology has emerged as a team of scientists introduces a novel biosensor capable of measuring the freshness of meat.

Collaborating across institutions including the Vietnam Academy of Science and Technology, VNU University of Science, Hanoi University of Science and Technology, and the Russian Academy of Sciences, researchers have unveiled a biosensor leveraging graphene electrodes modified with zinc oxide nanoparticles to assess meat freshness by detecting Hypoxanthine (HXA) levels.

Published in AIP Advances, the study showcases the biosensor’s effectiveness, particularly demonstrated on pork meat.

In a global context where meat consumption surges and transport spans continents, the assessment of meat freshness stands as a crucial determinant of quality and safety. Despite technological strides in preserving meat, inevitable aging processes persist, necessitating innovative solutions for assessing meat freshness.

The biosensor operates by detecting HXA levels, an indicator of meat freshness. As animals cease breathing post-slaughter, Adenosine triphosphate (ATP) production halts, leading to ATP decomposition into HXA and xanthine.

Assessing the prevalence of these compounds in meat reflects its freshness. While existing HXA sensing methods are deemed costly and time-consuming, the newly developed biosensor offers unparalleled advantages in terms of time, portability, sensitivity, and selectivity.

Practical application and validation

Constructed with a polyimide film converted into porous graphene via pulsed laser, the biosensor integrates zinc oxide nanoparticles to attract HXA molecules to the electrode surface.

Upon interaction with the electrode, HXA undergoes oxidation, inducing a spike in electrode voltage. The linear correlation between HXA and voltage increase facilitates easy determination of HXA content.

Rigorous testing involving solutions with known HXA concentrations and real-world application on pork tenderloins yielded promising results, with the sensor demonstrating over 98 percent accuracy, a favorable detection range, and low detection limits.

While prioritizing pork quality monitoring in Vietnam, the scientists emphasize the biosensor’s versatility, suggesting its applicability to monitoring the freshness of various meat products beyond pork.

With its potential to transform meat quality assessment, this graphene-based biosensor paves the way for enhanced food safety and quality assurance across the global meat industry.

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