Reflecting the impact of FoodSmartphone in pesticides monitoring

Hello everyone,

I hope you are all great and awaiting your week to close with a FoodSmartphone blog 😛 .

Today, I will try to explain you the impact of FoodSmartphone project in pesticides monitoring. So let’s go back in year 1798, when Thomas Malthus,  an English cleric and scholar, published his book “An Essay on the Principle of Population”. Briefly, he described that  “population would increase geometrically, doubling every 25 years but food production would only grow arithmetically, which would result in famine and starvation, unless births were controlled”.

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The Malthusian “catastrophe”. 
This was a pessimistic but still reasonable thinking. Up to date, there is still controversy about the Malthusian theory with some people thinking that humanity, as we know, will not last for a long time. On the other hand, food science and agriculture still achieve to feed the constantly increasing human population. An indispensable reason of this success is the use of pesticides, which prevent pests and boost agricultural productivity. In fact, more than 1500 different pesticides (meaning numerous chemical compounds which originally shouldn’t be spread in the environment) have been applied. The vast majority of them are synthetic compounds that can cause serious acute or chronic health effects if their amount is not regulated. Unfortunately this was the case up to early 70’s, when the developed countries realized that a strict regulation and even restriction of  specific compounds must be applied.
So from that point on the FoodSmartphone project becomes more relevant. To apply a regulation and check its application, you need the necessary technology and methodology. In the beginning, scientists goal was to provide these “weapons” regardless any potential effect of their use. This effect included the release of other chemicals which were necessary for the detection of pesticides for example great amounts of organic solvents such as acetonitrile or hexane. In this way, although the amount of pesticides in food or water was monitored, the release of other chemicals retained the problem.
However, the passage of time brought improved pesticides methods which are applied by highly skilled experts in labs. At this point, our project is trying to achieve a paradigm shift in food testing. The goal is to provide simple tests, applicable even by non-experts, on-site! Hopefully, you will be able to test your food in your kitchen. Auditors will be able to screen pesticide content in the field. Most importantly, all FoodSmartphone tests, will be coupled to smartphones. Have you ever thought of a personal food analyzer in your pocket??
For 1.5 year, all FoodSmartphone members have been working on the aforementioned concept. Last week, we all gathered together in Wageningen alongside with the EU project officers and presented our outcome. In fact, it was motivating and we all realized that FoodSmartphone is paving a new road for food testing.
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Presenting our project to the EU commission officers 
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The whole FoodSmartphone group
Until next time keep safe and expect your personal food analyzer by the end of 2020!
Cheers,
Aris

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