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Sensor sniffs fish freshness.

Sensor sniffs fish freshness

Objectively measuring the freshness of fish is important for quality control measures in the fish processing industry. One of the most widely used methods of testing for freshness -- chemically measuring breakdown products of ATP-related compounds in the fish's muscle tissue -- requres a great deal of effort and time.

Japanese researchers now suggest that it may be easier to use a special sensor to measure gases produced as a fish decomposes. A titanium oxide/ruthenium semiconductor sensor, heated to 500[deg.]C, is very sensitive to the ambient concentrations of trimethylamine (TMA) and ammonia, gases given off during fish deterioration, say Yasuhiro Shimizu and colleagues of Nagasaki University in Japan.

When exposed to increased levels of TMA and ammonia, the electrical resistance of the semiconductive sensor decreases, the group reports in the October JOURNAL OF THE ELECTROCHEMICAL SOCIETY. Because the sensor is only exposed to the fish's "odor," the technique may offer a much more "rapid, nondestructive analysis of freshness" than current methods, the researchers say.
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Publication:Science News
Date:Oct 29, 1988
Words:169
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