Rethinking Healthcare

Determine food freshness with edible silk stickers

Determine food freshness with edible silk stickers

Posting in Energy

Scientists at Tufts University have developed edible silk stickers that can signal when food spoils.

"Honey, is this milk stale?"

"I don't know, scan it with your phone."

Tufts University scientists have developed silk stickers that determine the freshness of perishable food.

The small square stickers are made of purified silk substrate, an edible pure protein. When moistened it works as a glue, flexibly fastening to food.

Spoiling food goes through chemical changes that alter its dielectric properties. These intrinsic properties control the way electromagnetic energy interacts with the food.

The silk stickers hold tiny gold antennae, as fine as dessert-grade gold leaf, which pick up on changes in the food's dielectric properties.

The antennae can then send an electromagnetic signal to a reader device, possibly within a cell phone, that the food has spoiled.

Chew on this: edible silk sensors to monitor your food [Co.Exist]

Image: Co.Exist

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Audrey Quinn

Contributing Writer

Audrey Quinn is a Brooklyn-based multimedia journalist focused on health, tech and the economy. Her radio stories can be heard on Marketplace, Studio 360, PRI's The World, NPR's Latino USA, Deutsche Welle Radio and The Believer Magazine podcast. In addition to her work with CBS Interactive she produces multimedia science stories for online publications and is a teaching assistant at the Transom Story Workshop. Her investigative work has been awarded by the Fund for Investigative Journalism and The Nation Institute’s Investigative Fund. Follow her on Twitter. Disclosure