Food allergens can now be caught using the key analyzer
Food is a necessity no human or animal can live without. However, there are chances that not many of them are capable of consuming most of the food products. There is still a small group of people who are allergic to certain food products or specific food components. For people having food allergies, the delicious dinner date can turn out to be a fearful experience.
People with food allergies put a lot of attention into what they are consuming. Even when care is taken, there are chances that the food to be consumed can be contaminated with the allergic food components and further trigger the reaction. Recently, a group of researchers has developed a unique portable allergen detection device. It is just a keychain analyzer that can help the concerned individual from entering the emergency room.
The basic way the allergic individuals deal with their condition is by avoiding the consumption of the products they are allergic to such as fish, milk, nuts, grains, and so on. The reaction triggered by the allergens can turn out to be deadly. The allergies can cause rashes or anaphylaxis that can be life threatening. However, the mislabeling or cross contamination of the food can also occur, which can trigger the allergic reaction. The avoidance of allergic foods is not always possible.
Traditionally, either bulky laboratorial equipment, or slow, or no low concentration detection systems were used. Thus, in order to outdo the conventional equipment, the researchers have come up with a new consumer-friendly and practical device. The researchers Hakho Lee, Ralph Weissleder, and their team is considered to be the pioneer behind the keychain analyzer.
The device is a portable allergen-detection system that just costs about $40. The system is an integrated exogenous antigen testing (iEAT). This is a handheld device that can extort allergens from the food and it has an electronic keychain reader that helps sense the presence of allergens. The information is then wirelessly communicated to the smartphone. As per the carried out tests, the device could help detect around five allergens, that is, one each from hazel nuts, milk, wheat, egg white, and peanuts. The testing was done using lower concentrations so as to check its efficiency.
The handheld device is currently being tested and is expected to hit the market as soon as its thorough efficiency is proved. The prototype was designed to test five allergens and in the future, it will be expanded to test additional allergens along with non-food contaminants as well.