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UPM Invented a Device to Trace Formaldehyde in Fish

A group of researchers from Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM) invented the enzyme-based biosensor technology that is able to trace formaldehyde; a chemical, which could be found in fish and fish products.

Head of researchers, Assoc. Prof. Dr. Fatimah Abu Bakar from the Institute of Bioscience, UPM said the technology provides a rapid and effective method in determining the level of formaldehyde, a chemical which can increase the risk of lung and brain cancer as well as leukaemia when consumed excessively.

“Despite the abusive usage of formaldehyde as preservatives in fish and fish products, there is still no standard and systematic monitoring procedures, hence with this technology we might be able to detect the use of prohibited chemical by the unscrupulous traders,” she informed the reporters at the UPM New Product press conference organized by the University’s Research Management Centre and the Corporate Communication Division.

She said the biosensor only takes 10 minutes to produce results as opposed to the conventional method, which normally took a day and it can be used at any location on land, moving transportation and also at the fish retailers.

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The project kicked off in 2007 and finally completed this year with a filed patent and funded by the Ministry of Science and Technology, (MOSTI).

The research team was assisted by fellow researchers, Prof. Dato’ Dr. Abu Bakar Salleh, Deputy Vice Chancellor (Research and Innovation) of UPM, Assoc. Prof. Dr. Nor Azah Yusof (UPM), Nur Indang Marzuki (UPM) and Prof. Dr. Lee Yoke Heng (UKM).

““The retail price will be determined by the manufacturer but the approximate cost of producing the device is RM50 and it can be reused for 60 times,” she said as she expressed her hopes that this product will soon capture the interest of targeted buyers.

Formaldehyde is an important chemical used widely by industry to manufacture building materials and numerous household products and also used in hospital as preservatives for anatomical specimens. Embalming in fish using the formaldehyde will ensure the quality appearance of the fish and for prolonged freshness.

Dr Nayan Kanwal | Research asia research news
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