Food & Flavour

Unique material detects toxic ions in food

Researchers in Moscow have created a new material based on a silicon-titanium gel and a dye agent that is able to rapidly identify if detrimental oxalate ions are present in food products.

There is a danger of liver stone disease development if the levels of oxalates (salts of oxalic acids) in food are high. The new sensor is an adapted silicon-titanium gel deprived of its liquid phase. The gel’s structure includes eriochrome cyanine—an indicator that loses its colour after touching any substance containing oxalate ions. Thus, to examine a sample, one simply has to touch it with the new material, and this is what makes the test exceptional. The researchers developed an extremely sensitive material: it can identify the presence of risky ions even if their concentration is four times below the permitted maximum level.

“Our sensor material helps determine the presence of oxalate ions in food products—simply, quickly, and off the lab,” added Elena Morosanova, study author & Professor at the Department of Analytical Chemistry of the Faculty of Chemistry, Moscow State Uunivesrity. The results of the research have been published in Sensors journal.