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Smartphone App Could Let You Know The Quality Of Your Mug Of Beer

There’s a saying that for engineers, 'the world revolve around beer and once it sinks in, everything resolves around orienting things piece by piece at its place' Recently, a group of researchers have taken interest in measuring the quality of beers with the help of smart methods. Chemists from the Complutense University of Madrid have designed a unique application which, depending on a polymer sensor enables the user to know whether furfural, a colorless compound has started brewing inside the Beer (system under investigation) or not. This particular compound has important usage in resin production, and is also a symbolic representation of aging in case of alcoholic beverages such as beer.

Beer, the most widely consumed hard drink features different flavours according to their respective brands. However, with time the solution gives birth to a colourless liquid compound which in turn negatively affects the smell and taste of the host. This inherited property might induce an undesired factor when it comes to marketing and branding consumable alcohol, provided the new-born composition acts almost the same way in all types of beer, but not in other alcohol such as wine

Now, team leader Elena Benito-Peña and María Cruz Moreno-Bondi along with their colleagues invented a cost effective solution to diminish the effect using early detection methodology coupled with a polymer sensor. They reported that it is not the idea, but rather the way of approaching the target that has been proven to be instrumental as far as their research is concerned. Previously, brewers used to detect alien compounds by using chromatography (primitive in terms of forensic science) but it exhausted huge amount of monetary resources due to the required sophistication and the process was too time consuming for being implemented.

The newly fabricated system, comprising of polymer, similar to what makes the contact lenses has been used in the form of discs which change their color whenever it comes in contact with a furfural mixed beer, from yellow to pink. A member of the research group explained that the system is combined with a aniline derivative which when reacts with furfural, changes its color to pink as the byproduct turns out to be a cyanine derivative. The colour deepens with respect to more furfural production pointing out the beer’s old-age.

Sensors change from yellow to pink when in contact with a beer containing furfural

Additionally, they have also engineered a smartphone application which can easily determine the beer's age by simply screening a picture of the beer-tested sensor discs captured using the phone's camera. Going one step ahead, the amount of furfural can be accurately measured, providing further insights about the sample's age. The application is an open-source application and currently only available for the android OS. The team implied that with the growing number of enthusiasts of such applications, they might soon provide an Apple iPhone version of the same application.

A co-author of the same further added that the results obtained from their current research have exceeded the expectation and presented an up-to-the-mark response. The research is an integral part of the INNPACTO project of the Spanish Ministry of Economic Affairs and has been published in the Analytical Chemistry journal.

Source: SINC

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