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Evaluation of Nanostructured Novel Sensing Material for Food Contamination Applications

Published by the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers, St. Joseph, Michigan www.asabe.org

Citation:  2007 ASAE Annual Meeting  073134.(doi:10.13031/2013.23447)
Authors:   SINDHUJA SANKARAN, SURANJAN (or initial) PANIGRAHI, YOUNG (or initial) CHANG
Keywords:   Zinc oxide sensor, gas sensitivity, sol-gel, dip-coating

Food safety is a critical need to ensure public safety. Application of olfactory sensing techniques for identifying the volatile metabolites produced by microbial pathogens is a potential method for detection of food contamination. A multidisciplinary effort using parallel sensing techniques is underway at North Dakota State University to detect Salmonella contamination in packaged meat. One of the focuses of the group is to develop and evaluate novel sensor/detector that will have high sensitivity and specificity for specific indicator compounds (trace levels). In this regard, zinc oxide semi-conductor material was selected as a novel sensor material to develop sensors. The objective of the present study was to fabricate and evaluate nanoparticulate ZnO sensor for the detection of lower concentration of ethanol and acetic acid at low operating temperature. The characterization of electrodes using atomic force microscopy, scanning electron microscopy and x-ray diffraction revealed the formation of nanoparticulate structures with (100), (101) and (002) orientation of zinc oxide. The preliminary results on gas sensitivity of ZnO indicated that the electrode displays a response to acetic acid, while they did not display any sensitivity to ethanol. When sensitivity of ZnO electrodes to 50 ppm and 100 ppm acetic acid were measured at 50ºC, the electrodes displayed unstable responses. It is believed that high operating temperature may be required to improve electrode sensitivity to gases.

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