Development of a Paper-Based Sensor Compatible with a Mobile Phone for the Detection of Common Iron Formulas Used in Fortified Foods within Resource-Limited Settings

Anna W. Waller, Marco Toc, Dylan J. Rigsby, Marcela Gaytán-Martínez, Juan E. Andrade

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

A lack of quality control tools limits the enforcement of fortification policies. In alignment with the World Health Organization’s ASSURED criteria (affordable, sensitive, specific, user-friendly, rapid and robust, equipment-free, and deliverable), a paper-based assay that interfaces with a smartphone application for the quantification of iron fortificants is presented. The assay is based on the Ferrozine colorimetric method. The reaction started after deposition of the 5 μL aqueous sample and drying. After developing color, pixel intensity values were obtained using a smartphone camera and image processing software or a mobile application, Nu3px. From these values, the actual iron concentration from ferrous sulfate and ferrous fumarate was calculated. The limits of detection, quantification, linearity, range, and errors (systematic and random) were ascertained. The paper-based values from real samples (wheat flour, nixtamalized corn flour, and infant formula) were compared against atomic emission spectroscopy. The comparison of several concentrations of atomic iron between the spectrophotometric and paper-based assays showed a strong positive linear correlation (y = 47.01x + 126.18; R2 = 0.9932). The dynamic range (5.0–100 μg/mL) and limit of detection (3.691 μg/mL) of the paper-based assay are relevant for fortified food matrices. Random and systematic errors were 15.9% and + 8.65 μg/g food, respectively. The concept can be applied to limited-resource settings to measure iron in fortified foods.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number1673
JournalNutrients
Volume11
Issue number7
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 21 2019

Keywords

  • Fortification
  • Iron
  • Mobile app
  • Paper-based assay
  • Sensor

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Food Science
  • Nutrition and Dietetics

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