Forum für Wissenschaft, Industrie und Wirtschaft

Hauptsponsoren:     3M 
Datenbankrecherche:

 

Got food allergies? Thanks to UCLA, you can test your meal on the spot using a cell phone

13.12.2012
Are you allergic to peanuts and worried there might be some in that cookie? Now you can find out using a rather unlikely source: your cell phone.

A team of researchers from the UCLA Henry Samueli School of Engineering and Applied Science has developed a lightweight device called the iTube, which attaches to a common cell phone to detect allergens in food samples. The iTube attachment uses the cell phone's built-in camera, along with an accompanying smart-phone application that runs a test with the same high level of sensitivity a laboratory would.


Left: The iTube platform, which utilizes colorimetric assays and a smart phone-based digital reader. Right: A screen capture of the iTube App.

Food allergies are an emerging public concern, affecting as many as 8 percent of young children and 2 percent of adults. Allergic reactions can be severe and even life-threatening. And while consumer-protection laws regulate the labeling of ingredients in pre-packaged foods, cross-contaminations can still occur during processing, manufacturing and transportation.

Although several products that detect allergens in foods are currently available, they are complex and require bulky equipment, making them ill-suited for use in public settings, according to the UCLA researchers.
The iTube was developed to address these issues, said Aydogan Ozcan, leader of the research team and a UCLA associate professor of electrical engineering and bioengineering. Weighing less than two ounces, the attachment analyzes a test tube–based allergen-concentration test known as a colorimetric assay.

To test for allergens, food samples are initially ground up and mixed in a test tube with hot water and an extraction solvent; this mixture is allowed to set for several minutes. Then, following a step-by-step procedure, the prepared sample is mixed with a series of other reactive testing liquids. The entire preparation takes roughly 20 minutes. When the sample is ready, it is measured optically for allergen concentration through the iTube platform, using the cell phone's camera and a smart application running on the phone.

The kit digitally converts raw images from the cell-phone camera into concentration measurements detected in the food samples. And beyond just a "yes" or "no" answer as to whether allergens are present, the test can also quantify how much of an allergen is in a sample, in parts per million.

The iTube platform can test for a variety of allergens, including peanuts, almonds, eggs, gluten and hazelnuts, Ozcan said.

The UCLA team successfully tested the iTube using commercially available cookies, analyzing the samples to determine if they had any harmful amount of peanuts, a potential allergen. Their research was recently published online in the peer-reviewed journal Lab on a Chip and will be featured in a forthcoming print issue of the journal.

Other authors of the research included graduate student and lead author Ahmet F. Coskun and undergraduate students Justin Wong, Delaram Khodadadi, Richie Nagi and Andrew Tey, all of whom are members of the Ozcan BioPhotonics Laboratory at UCLA. Ozcan is also a member of the California NanoSystems Institute at UCLA.

"We envision that this cell phone–based allergen testing platform could be very valuable, especially for parents, as well as for schools, restaurants and other public settings," Ozcan said. "Once successfully deployed in these settings, the big amount of data — as a function of both location and time — that this platform will continuously generate would indeed be priceless for consumers, food manufacturers, policymakers and researchers, among others."

Allergen-testing results of various food products, tagged with a time and location stamp, can be uploaded directly from cell phones to iTube servers to create a personalized testing archive, which could provide additional resources for allergic individuals around the world. A statistical allergy database, coupled with geographic information, could be useful for future food-related policies — for example in restaurants, food production and for consumer protection, the researchers said.

The Ozcan BioPhotonics Lab is funded by the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE), the Army Research Office Young Investigator Award, the National Science Foundation CAREER Award, the Office of Naval Research Young Investigator Award and the National Institutes of Health Director's New Innovator Award.

For more information on the Ozcan BioPhotonics Research Group, visit http://innovate.ee.ucla.edu and http://biogames.ee.ucla.edu.

The UCLA Henry Samueli School of Engineering and Applied Science, established in 1945, offers 28 academic and professional degree programs and has an enrollment of more than 5,000 students. The school's distinguished faculty are leading research to address many of the critical challenges of the 21st century, including renewable energy, clean water, health care, wireless sensing and networking, and cybersecurity. Ranked among the top 10 engineering schools at public universities nationwide, the school is home to nine multimillion-dollar interdisciplinary research centers in wireless sensor systems, wireless health, nanoelectronics, nanomedicine, renewable energy, customized computing, the smart grid, and the Internet, all funded by federal and private agencies and individual donors.

(www.engineer.ucla.edu | www.twitter.com/uclaengineering)

Matthew Chin | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.ucla.edu

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht Using fragment-based approaches to discover new antibiotics
21.06.2018 | SLAS (Society for Laboratory Automation and Screening)

nachricht Scientists learn more about how gene linked to autism affects brain
19.06.2018 | Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Leichter abheben: Fraunhofer LBF entwickelt Flugzeugrad aus Faser-Kunststoff-Verbund

Noch mehr Reichweite oder noch mehr Nutzlast - das wünschen sich Fluggesellschaften für ihre Flugzeuge. Wegen ihrer hohen spezifischen Steifigkeiten und Festigkeiten kommen daher zunehmend leichte Faser-Kunststoff-Verbunde zum Einsatz. Bei Rümpfen oder Tragflächen sind permanent Innovationen in diese Richtung zu beobachten. Um dieses Innovationsfeld auch für Flugzeugräder zu erschließen, hat das Fraunhofer-Institut für Betriebsfestigkeit und Systemzuverlässigkeit LBF jetzt ein neues EU-Forschungsvorhaben gestartet. Ziel ist die Entwicklung eines ersten CFK-Bugrads für einen Airbus A320. Dabei wollen die Forscher ein Leichtbaupotential von bis zu 40 Prozent aufzeigen.

Faser-Kunststoff-Verbunde sind in der Luftfahrt bei zahlreichen Bauteilen bereits das Material der Wahl. So liegt beim Airbus A380 der Anteil an...

Im Focus: IT-Sicherheit beim autonomen Fahren

FH St. Pölten entwickelt neue Methode für sicheren Informationsaustausch zwischen Fahrzeugen mittels Funkdaten

Neue technische Errungenschaften wie das Internet der Dinge oder die direkte drahtlose Kommunikation zwischen Objekten erhöhen den Bedarf an effizienter...

Im Focus: Innovative Handprothesensteuerung besteht Alltagstest

Selbstlernende Steuerung für Handprothesen entwickelt. Neues Verfahren lässt Patienten natürlichere Bewegungen gleichzeitig in zwei Achsen durchführen. Forscher der Universitätsmedizin Göttingen (UMG) veröffentlichen Studie im Wissenschaftsmagazin „Science Robotics“ vom 20. Juni 2018.

Motorisierte Handprothesen sind mittlerweile Stand der Technik bei der Versorgung von Amputationen an der oberen Extremität. Bislang erlauben sie allerdings...

Im Focus: Temperaturgesteuerte Faser-Lichtquelle mit flüssigem Kern

Die moderne medizinische Bildgebung und neue spektroskopische Verfahren benötigen faserbasierte Lichtquellen, die breitbandiges Laserlicht im nahen und mittleren Infrarotbereich erzeugen. Wissenschaftlerinnen und Wissenschaftler des Leibniz-Instituts für Photonische Technologien Jena (Leibniz-IPHT) zeigen in einer aktuellen Veröffentlichung im renommierten Fachblatt Optica, dass sie die optischen Eigenschaften flüssigkeitsgefüllter Fasern und damit die Bandbreite des Laserlichts gezielt über die Umgebungstemperatur steuern können.

Das Besondere an den untersuchten Fasern ist ihr Kern. Er ist mit Kohlenstoffdisulfid gefüllt - einer flüssigen chemischen Verbindung mit hoher optischer...

Im Focus: Temperature-controlled fiber-optic light source with liquid core

In a recent publication in the renowned journal Optica, scientists of Leibniz-Institute of Photonic Technology (Leibniz IPHT) in Jena showed that they can accurately control the optical properties of liquid-core fiber lasers and therefore their spectral band width by temperature and pressure tuning.

Already last year, the researchers provided experimental proof of a new dynamic of hybrid solitons– temporally and spectrally stationary light waves resulting...

Alle Focus-News des Innovations-reports >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industrie & Wirtschaft
Veranstaltungen

Leben im Plastikzeitalter: Wie ist ein nachhaltiger Umgang mit Plastik möglich?

21.06.2018 | Veranstaltungen

Kongress BIO-raffiniert X – Neue Wege in der Nutzung biogener Rohstoffe?

21.06.2018 | Veranstaltungen

DFG unterstützt Kongresse und Tagungen im August 2018

20.06.2018 | Veranstaltungen

VideoLinks
Wissenschaft & Forschung
Weitere VideoLinks im Überblick >>>
 
Aktuelle Beiträge

Leichter abheben: Fraunhofer LBF entwickelt Flugzeugrad aus Faser-Kunststoff-Verbund

22.06.2018 | Materialwissenschaften

Lernen und gleichzeitig Gutes tun? Baufritz macht‘s möglich!

22.06.2018 | Unternehmensmeldung

GFOS und skip Institut entwickeln gemeinsam Prototyp für Augmented Reality App für die Produktion

22.06.2018 | Unternehmensmeldung

Weitere B2B-VideoLinks
IHR
JOB & KARRIERE
SERVICE
im innovations-report
in Kooperation mit academics