New app makes possible to detect carcinogenic chemicals in processed meat

Although some studies have shown that processed meat may contain cancer-causing chemicals, it has not prevented people from eating it.


Spanish researchers have developed a new smartphone app that could warn users of chemicals in processed meat, like bacon, sausages, and salami.

The scientists used a color-changing film known as Polysen that changes color when it senses high levels of nitrite, which is a meat preservative.

Consumers can affix those labels on meat products. They can then click on a film image with their smartphone and the app will assess the color to give the nitrite concentration value.

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The polymer sensor (Polysen) consists of four monomers and hydrochloroacid. The films are stuck to the meat for 15 minutes to react with nitrite.

Then, these disks are immersed in a solution of sodium hydroxide for one minute for the color to develop.

The film would be dark yellow if the meat sample contains nitrite. The higher the amount of nitrite, the deeper the yellow.

Experts from the Universidad de Burgos in Spain, who developed the system in the color judging application, published their study in ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces.

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