Nitrite is a typical preservative utilized in processed meat merchandise. It supplies a attribute pinkish color and contemporary meat flavour to merchandise reminiscent of York ham or mortadella.
Nonetheless, nitrite is a contentious ingredient, having been instantly related to gastrointestinal tumours, abdomen most cancers, and the so-called blue child syndrome.
In 2015, the Worldwide Company for Analysis on Most cancers (IARC) labeled processed meat, together with deli meats, as carcinogenic as a consequence of its hyperlinks with – amongst different issues – greater threat of colon most cancers.
In Spain, researchers on the Universidad de Burgos have noticed that buyers are more and more within the presence of nitrites of their meals merchandise.
Provided that present nitrite analysing instruments accessible to shoppers are difficult and laborious to make use of, the scientists have developed an alternate technique: all you want is a sticker and a smartphone.
In a research revealed in ACS Utilized Supplies & Interfaces and funded by La Caixa Basis and the Spanish Agencia Estatal de Investigación, the researchers element their growth of a colour-changing movie that buyers can stick onto meals. Utilizing a smartphone, shoppers then take an image of the movie and ‘simply’ analyse nitrite ranges.
The know-how is based on a sensory polymer delicate to nitrite anions, which they’ve coined POLYSEN, as a colorimetric sensory movie for the visible detection of nitrite.
The movie is caught onto the meals floor of quarter-hour after which immersed in a fundamental sodium hydroxide resolution for one minute. Color modifications are registered with a smartphone digicam. The searchers have developed a smartphone app, ‘Colorimetric Titration’, which routinely autocalibrates the measurement, analyses the info, and outputs a nitrite focus end result to the consumer.
When nitrite is current, the movie’s yellowish hue deepens: the darker the hue, the upper the focus of nitrites within the meals.
“In brief, the novelty of our proposal for analysing nitrite in meat lies within the mixture of [several] traits,” clarify the research authors.
These embody a costless novel sensory materials, a straightforward experimental process, self-calibrated measurement, and a novel smartphone app that permits in situ measurement that may simply be utilized by the typical individual.
The invention is well timed, given elevated authorities curiosity in nitrate and nitrite ranges.
Earlier this 12 months, the Fee adopted a proposal to scale back the authorised ranges of nitrates and nitrites in meat merchandise. This 12 months has additionally seen France’s National Assembly back a principle of ‘lower the trajectory’ of maximum levels of nitrates that may be added to characterise meats.
And within the UK, scientists and MPs are pushing for a ban on using nitrites in bacon.
Supply: ACS Utilized Supplies & Interfaces
‘Straightforward Nitrate Evaluation of Processed Meat and Colorimetric Polymer Sensors and a Smartphone App’
Revealed 3 August 2022
Authors: Marta Guembe-García, Lara González-Ceballos, Ana Arnaiz, Miguel A. Fernández-Muiño, M. Teresa Sancho, Sandra M. Osés, Saturnino Ibeas, Jordi Rovira, Beatriz Melero, Cesar Represa, José M. García, and Saúl Vallejos.