People that aren’t sure whether their leftover food is ok to eat will soon be able to check using a scanner on their mobile phone.

Researchers at the University of California, Los Angeles, have developed a device that attaches to mobile phones and can detect small amounts of E. coli in liquid samples.

According to the World Health Organisation, outbreaks of E. coli pose a huge threat to health in developing countries. Most are harmless but some strains can cause severe foodborne disease.

The device consists of glass capillary tubes with light emitting diode (LED) on either end. Antibodies are fixed to the sides of the capillaries and trap any E. coli present in a liquid.

Lead researcher Hongying Zhu told the Royal Society of Chemistry’s World magazine that the platform would be very useful to bring advanced technologies to poor locations.

“[The mobile provides] a ubiquitous platform for conducting advanced micro-analysis wherever cell phones work,” he added.

Posted by Peter Robinson

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