The University of East Anglia in the United Kingdom is seeking partners for commercialization of a new smart packaging nanotechnology that enables workers throughout the meat supply chain to verify freshness.

Professor Thomas Nann, a chemist and nanoscience expert at the University of East Anglia, developed the new technology to be highly sensitive to biogenic amines, which are produced by the bacterial decay of meat and fish. Using new nanoparticle technology, the freshness sensor can be incorporated into packaging with no outward signs of its presence. Workers can check the freshness of the meat by shining a UV light, such as a barcode scanner, on the package. Luminescent color then reveals the state of freshness or decay of the product.

Market research shows that food retailers want a controlled testing process that displays no evidence of deterioration to customers, but still allows unsatisfactory products to be removed before they reach customers, according to University of East Anglia researchers. Sensor technologies currently on the market show visible color change in response to decay.

A priority patent application has been filed in the United Kingdom, with the intention to file for international patents. Businesses interested in licensing the technology or jointly developing new packaging solutions may contact the university’s business development office.