Modern Biosensors Revolutionising Fresh Product Management in the Food Industry – Part 2


Fresh products, including vegetables, fruits, and flowers, possess a dynamic nature characterized by respiration rates influenced by temperature, CO2 and O2 levels, and the plant hormone ethylene. Effective management of these factors is crucial for extending shelf-life and maintaining product quality. This article explores the potential of modern and affordable biosensors in revolutionizing the production and shelf-life management of fresh products in the food industry.

I. Understanding Respiration and Its Impact:

1. Respiration in Fresh Products:

  • Fresh products undergo respiration, a metabolic process involving the exchange of gases (CO2 and O2) and the production of energy.
  • Respiration rates are influenced by temperature, with higher rates at elevated temperatures leading to accelerated deterioration.
  • The production of ethylene, a plant hormone, can also impact the respiration process and influence ripening and senescence.

2. Factors Influencing Shelf-Life:

  • The respiration process affects the shelf-life of fresh products by promoting various physiological changes, including softening, discoloration, and nutrient degradation.
  • Accumulation of CO2 and depletion of O2 within the product environment can accelerate deterioration and affect quality attributes.
  • Ethylene production can stimulate ripening and lead to reduced shelf-life, particularly in climacteric fruits and flowers.

II. Role of Biosensors in Fresh Product Management:

1. Real-Time Monitoring:

  • Biosensors provide real-time monitoring of temperature, CO2 and O2 levels, and ethylene production, enabling precise control and management of fresh products.
  • These sensors can be integrated into packaging materials, storage facilities, or even directly attached to the products themselves for continuous monitoring.

2. Non-Invasive and Portable Solutions:

  • Modern biosensors offer non-invasive and portable solutions, allowing for easy deployment throughout the supply chain, from farm to consumer.
  • These sensors can be designed as wearable devices, smart labels, or handheld instruments, enabling efficient monitoring and decision-making at various stages.

3. Improved Quality Control:

  • Biosensors enable proactive quality control by providing real-time data on critical parameters, allowing for timely interventions.
  • Temperature sensors ensure optimal storage conditions, preventing temperature abuse and reducing the risk of spoilage.
  • Monitoring CO2 and O2 levels aids in maintaining the desired gas composition, preventing anaerobic conditions or excessive oxidation.
  • Ethylene sensors offer insights into ripening patterns, allowing for precise management and extending the shelf-life of climacteric products.

III. Advancements in Modern and Affordable Biosensors:

1. Printed Biosensors:

  • Printed biosensors utilize cost-effective printing techniques to fabricate sensors on flexible substrates, enabling mass production at a low cost.
  • These sensors can be integrated into smart packaging or labels, providing real-time data on temperature, gas levels, and ethylene production.

2. Nanotechnology-Enabled Biosensors:

  • Nano-materials such as nanowires, nanoparticles, and nanocomposites enhance the sensitivity and selectivity of biosensors.
  • Nanotechnology facilitates the development of compact and low-cost biosensors, which can be integrated into handheld devices or wearable technologies.

3. Internet of Things (IoT) Integration:

  • Biosensors can be seamlessly integrated with IoT platforms, enabling data collection, analysis, and remote monitoring.
  • IoT connectivity enhances traceability, facilitates data-driven decision-making, and optimises supply chain management for fresh products.

IV. Future Implications and Benefits:

1. Extended Shelf-Life:

  • Real-time monitoring and control using biosensors allow for optimised storage conditions, resulting in extended shelf-life for fresh products.
  • Reduced spoilage and waste contribute to sustainability efforts and economic benefits for producers and retailers.

2. Enhanced Quality and Consumer Satisfaction:

  • Precise management of temperature, gas levels, and ethylene production ensures better quality attributes, such as texture, color, and nutrient retention.
  • Consumers benefit from fresher and longer-lasting products, enhancing satisfaction and loyalty.

3. Supply Chain Optimisation:

  • Biosensors enable supply chain stakeholders to make informed decisions regarding inventory management, distribution, and product rotation.
  • Accurate data on freshness and quality allow for more efficient logistics planning, reducing product losses and improving overall supply chain efficiency.


The integration of modern and affordable biosensors in the fresh product management process has the potential to revolutionize the food industry. Real-time monitoring of temperature, gas levels, and ethylene production enables precise control, extending shelf-life, improving quality, and minimizing waste. As technology continues to advance, the widespread adoption of biosensors throughout the supply chain will contribute to a more sustainable and efficient fresh product industry.

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