With both foodborne illness and food spoilage detrimentally impacting human health and the economy, there is growing interest in the development of in situ sensors that offer real-time monitoring of food quality within enclosed food packages. While oligonucleotide-based fluorescent sensors have illustrated significant promise, the development of such on-food sensors requires consideration towards sensing-relevant fluorescence properties of target food products – information that has not yet been reported. To address this need, comprehensive fluorescence profiles for various contamination-prone food products are established in this study across several wavelengths and timepoints. The intensity of these food backgrounds is further contextualized to biomolecule-mediated sensing using overlaid fluorescent oligonucleotide arrays, which offer perspective towards the viability of distinct wavelengths and fluorophores for in situ food monitoring. Results show that biosensing in the Cy3 range is optimal for all tested foods, with the Cy5 range offering comparable performance with meat products specifically. Moreover, recognizing that mass fabrication of on-food sensors requires rapid and simple deposition of sensing agents onto packaging substrates, RNA-cleaving fluorescent nucleic acid probes are successfully deposited via microcontact printing for the first time. Direct incorporation onto food packaging yields cost-effective sensors with performance comparable to ones produced using conventional deposition strategies.
Comprehensive Fluorescence Profiles of Contamination-prone Foods Applied to the Design of Microcontact-printed in situ Functional Oligonucleotide Sensors