A transparent test patch, printed with harmless molecules, signals food contamination as it happens. The patch can be incorporated directly into food packaging, where it can monitor the contents for harmful pathogens such as E. coli and Salmonella. The new technology has the potential to replace the traditional “best before” or expiration date on food and drinks.
If a pathogen is present in the food or drink inside a package, the Sentinel Wrap patch would trigger a signal in the packaging that could be read by a smartphone or other simple device. The test itself does not affect the contents of the package.
Food manufacturers could easily incorporate the patch into their production process. The same technology could also be used in other applications, such as bandages to indicate if wounds are infected or for wrapping surgical instruments to assure they are sterile.