We’ve already heard about a biosensor developed in Brazil for detecting pesticide content in food. Now at CE Week, a Seoul-based company called BioSensor Laboratories has presented Penguin, a home-use sensor that detects the presence of antibiotics in animal products.
The system, described as a lab-on-a-chip solution, detects traces of electrons produced by chemical reactions of enzymes and antibiotics using signal-to-noise technology commonly used in medical devices. Biosensor Solutions says it can detect all antibiotics with an accuracy of 10 ppb (parts per billion).
As a consumer item, it appears to be quite easy to use. All that’s required is to squeeze a drop of juice out of a piece of meat and place it on the single-use cartridge, which then needs to be inserted into the main device. Two minutes later the screen will display what type of antibiotics the sample contains, and whether they exceed FDA regulatory limits or not.
For those who want to keep track of how much antibiotic residue they’ve been ingesting, there’s an option to sync Penguin with a smartphone.
There’s mounting concern over the use of antibiotics in livestock and its impact on human health. Last year the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released a report on the threat of antimicrobial resistance (AMR). It says every year two million Americans become infected with antibiotic-resistant bacteria and 23,000 people die as a result of those infections. The report links the use of antibiotics in farmed animals who are eaten by humans to those figures.
The problem is not limited to the US, though, and the World Health Organization says AMR is a global threat that needs to be tackled.
The video below shows how Penguin can help its users.