Fish packaging with built-in nose

Nov 07, 2013
A built-in nose tells your smartphone how fresh the fish is, before you buy it.

From the outside you can't see whether supermarket fish is still fresh. Once you remove the plastic foil it's immediately obvious how fresh it is, but by then it has already reached your kitchen. PhD candidate Jenneke Heising is working on packaging with a built-in nose that tells your smartphone how fresh the fish is, before you buy it.

Fish is a complicated product for supermarkets. Few foodstuffs are as variable as . Even the catch from a single fishing boat can contain fish with very different shelf lives. Water temperature, the sex of the fish and the type of food a fish has recently eaten can all influence the speed at which the meat decays.

Three ways of measuring freshness

Jenneke Heising's research into three ways of measuring the freshness of packaged fish has been published in the Journal of Food Engineering. The three methods have one thing in common: they all involve measurements using a sensor in the . As the fish decays, various substances are released into the air inside the packaging and they subsequently dissolve in water in the sensor. Heising has investigated the practicality of using sensors that measure acidity, conductivity or ammonia. The ammonia sensor does not appear to be very useful because the substance is only released once the fish is almost 'off'. Acidity is unreliable because temperature appears to have too much influence on the readings. However, conductivity looks promising, Heising says.

Conductivity says something about freshness

Various substances released from the fish cause water to conduct electricity more easily. At differing temperatures, Heising investigated whether the sensor readings represented how fresh the fish was. "We can see an effect very rapidly, and that is just what we need. It seems we've found a good method. To confirm that, we'd also like to know in more detail which substances cause that effect. That's what we're investigating at the moment.'

Chip in packaging together with fish

Ultimately this research should lead to a being packed in with fish. The chip will indicate how long the product remains fresh. "I'm thinking of a small piece of gel containing a chip that can be read with RFID." This will enable supermarkets and other retailers to judge the of the fish without opening the packaging. "And consumers should also be able to read the chip information with their smartphones." No more nasty surprises when you get home.

Explore further: Warmer oceans could raise mercury levels in fish

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Warmer oceans could raise mercury levels in fish

Oct 03, 2013

Rising ocean surface temperatures caused by climate change could make fish accumulate more mercury, increasing the health risk to people who eat seafood, Dartmouth researchers and their colleagues report ...

'Testicle-munching' Amazon fish found off Denmark

Aug 13, 2013

A Danish fisherman made an unusual find in his nets recently when he discovered a pacu, a sharp-toothed cousin of the South American piranha with a reported penchant for testicles.

Recommended for you

Godzilla stomps back in ultra HD, wires intact

8 hours ago

At a humble Tokyo laboratory, Godzilla, including the 1954 black-and-white original, is stomping back with a digital makeover that delivers four times the image quality of high definition.

Overly polite drivers, not roadworks, cause traffic jams

Aug 25, 2014

British motorists who are too polite or timid in their driving style are the cause of lengthy traffic jams across the UK, particularly when faced with roadworks or lane closures, according to a leading Heriot-Watt ...

Voice, image give clues in hunt for Foley's killer

Aug 21, 2014

Police and intelligence services are using image analysis and voice-recognition software, studying social media postings and seeking human tips as they scramble to identify the militant recorded on a video ...

Smartphone-loss anxiety disorder

Aug 21, 2014

The smart phone has changed our behavior, sometimes for the better as we are now able to connect and engage with many more people than ever before, sometimes for the worse in that we may have become over-reliant on the connectivity ...

Why conspiracy theorists won't give up on MH17 and MH370

Aug 20, 2014

A huge criminal investigation is underway in the Netherlands, following the downing of flight MH17. Ten Dutch prosecutors and 200 policemen are involved in collecting evidence to present at the International Criminal Court in the Hague. The inv ...

User comments : 0