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URA Archive
Scholars 2009 - 2010

Cristina Teixeira

Cristina Teixeira, Chemistry
“Development of a Food Quality Indicating Sensor”
Faculty Mentor: Dr. William R. LaCourse
Expected Graduation Date: December 2010
Contact: cris4@umbc.edu

This project involves the production of an industry compatible food quality indicator. The consumption of fish that contain elevated levels of scrombotoxin (histamine) causes scromboid poisoning, which is a particularly severe form of food poisoning. This histamine is not removed or destroyed upon cooking and is not volatile, leaving no odor on the fish, and therefore, making it particularly difficult to detect accurately at actionable levels. An accurate detecting dye has been established to detect the presence of histamine and other amines in aqueous solutions. The primary mode of action is via reaction of amines generated during spoilage with chemicals within the device to form stable dye/amine adducts. These adducts, which have visible color, then diffuse to the outer surface of the device, resulting in a visible color change. Overall, the device will act as a dosimeter to determine the total amount of amines generated as a result of fish spoilage. The color change will be calibrated to indicate when food is no longer safe for consumption. This dye has already been validated as a reliable reagent for primary and secondary amines. These amines were derived with good reproducibility under optimized conditions and also tested for histamine analysis in samples of blue fish.