ICAR-Central Institute of Fisheries Technology, Cochin work on Chitosan based Gold nanoparticles as frozen store temperature indicator is published in Nature’s npj Science of Food. Food and pharmaceutical products are highly sensitive to temperature of storage. They need to be maintained at specified temperature throughout their shelf-life to ensure its quality and safety. Frozen food products have relatively very long shelf life ranging from 6 months to 2 years. They should be stored at -18 ± 2°C from the point of production till they are consumed. However, cold chain is broken due to many reasons like improper cold chain facilities at all the stages of food distribution, frequent power failure and regular opening and closure of freezer door at retail outlets. Failure to maintain specified temperature will indirectly affect the quality and safety of the product. It is difficult to find out whether the frozen food product has thawed at some point and then refrozen. As there is no device/method to monitor such temperature abuses, consumers will end up buying inferior quality products.
Keeping this in mind to make a public good, researchers from ICAR- Central Institute of Fisheries Technology, Cochin have developed a chitosan based gold nanoparticle which can detect such deviations in storage temperature. Research team have developed a greener method to develop gold nanoparticles using chitosan extracted from shell-fish waste. These nanoparticles can be attached on the external surface of food and pharmaceutical packs without coming in contact with the product. Upon temperature fluctuation, the initial colour of the gold nanoparticles changes to distinctly different colour which is irreversible. This can be easily detected by consumers to judge the maintenance of proper storage temperature. The work was carried out in collaboration with Biological Systems Engineering division of University of Wisconsin, Madison, USA.
This research work authored by Mohan, C. O., Gunasekaran, S and Ravishankar, C.N., is published in Nature’s npj Science of Food in 2019 (https://www.nature.com/articles/s41538-019-0034-z).