Test for Food-Based Toxins in Fewer Than 5 Minutes

A new paper-strip can test for pesticides in minutes rather than hours by means of an easy-to-read color-change.

Scientists at McMaster University in Ontario have developed a cheap, fast and easy-to-read paper dipstick test which tells users the level of pesticides in their foods and beverages in only 5 minutes. This new testing method is an advancement over current toxin tests, which are expensive and require a couple of hours to produce results. The dipstick process is especially practical in developing countries without the finances or electricity to perform more complicated testing.

R&D reports that the dipstick will allow for the collection of useful data around food and beverage consumption that provides insights into how toxins affect local environments and communities that depend on them:

The scientists describe the development of a new paper-based test strip that changes color shades depending on the amount of pesticide present. In laboratory studies using food and beverage samples intentionally contaminated with common pesticides, the test strips accurately identified minute amounts of pesticides. The test strips, which produced results in less than 5 minutes, could be particularly useful in developing countries or remote areas that may lack access to expensive testing equipment and electricity.

[via Technology Review]

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