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Cheap Paper-Based Sensors Let You Snoop For Pesticides

A paper-based electrochemical sensor has been developed by researchers at the University of São Paulo (USP) in Brazil to detect traces of pesticides in fruit and vegetables in real time when coupled to an electronic device.


(Sensor detects pesticide in common use in Brazil)

The researchers analyzed kraft paper and parchment, finding both types of paper to be stable enough to serve as a substrate for the sensor. However, the porousness of kraft paper conferred more sensitivity on the sensor and the carboxyl groups formed during electrochemical activation, Martins explained, adding that paper-based electrodes could be used in many applications.

"There are commercial electrodes made of plastic or ceramic material. We successfully developed electrochemical sensors based on paper, a much more malleable material and therefore potentially useful in many areas, not just on farms or in supermarkets, but also in healthcare, for example," he said.

(Via PhysOrg.)

Fans of Frank Herbert's Dune of course remember the poison snoopers used by royalty and social climbers to make sure that food was safe to eat:

"Hawat already has our own poison snooper over the dining table," he said. "There's a portable in your room..."

...Paul looked around at the clusterings of guests, the jeweled hands clutching drinks (and the unobtrusive inspections with tiny remote-cast snoopers...).

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