Material capable of detecting the decomposition of certain packaged foods.

  • From Spain
  • Responsive
  • Patents for licensing

Summary of the technology

Researchers at the University of Burgos have developed polymers that are capable of detecting the compounds released by certain decomposing foods.
Using this technology is possible to know quickly and safely if packaged food, specifically fish, is still suitable for consumption. These materials can be presented in the form of films, porous membranes and integrated into other fabrics, such as cotton fibres.


Details of the Technology Offer

New and innovative aspects

Until now, the expiration date (or best before date) is the only information available to the consumer to know the useful life of a food. The polymers developed by the University of Burgos make it possible to determine the presence of biogenic amines that a food releases during its putrefaction. By applying this technology, the presence of, for example, putrescine and cadaverine (two of the most common amines) can be determined quickly and efficiently. This technique is positioned as a viable alternative to the determination of these compounds by techniques that are more complex.

Main advantages of its use

The main advantages of this material and its use in the determination of the chemical compounds of interest are:
- Simple and cheap. It does not require handling of reagents or pre-treatment.
- Specific. The detection of amines in the gas phase has no interferents.
- Response time. The analysis is practically immediate (colour change and fluorescence).
- Versatile. The polymer can be presented as a film, a membrane or covered by fibres, such as cotton.


The synthesized aromatic polyamides (figure 1), which contain structures derived from 1,8-naphthalimide anchored to the main chain, are obtained by polycondensation reaction of the initial monomers. These structures, when interacting with amines and biogenic amines, undergo a change in colour and/or fluorescence. Specific:
Colour change: B-ethylenediamine, cadaverine, trimethylamine, morpholine and putrescine.
Fluorescence change: β-ethylenediamine, cadaverine, morpholine and putrescine.
The final material can be obtained as a film or, by foaming, as a porous membrane. Additionally, these polymers can be integrated into other fabrics, such as cotton fibres.


The material developed can be applied in the food industry as an intelligent label to account for the freshness of food packaged with a controlled atmosphere, such as packaged fish.
A more general use would consist of using this material as a sensor against the presence of a wide variety of amines in the gas phase.

Intellectual property status

Protected by patent P201730765

Current development status

Research or Experimental

Desired business relationship

Trade Agreement, License Agreement, Technical cooperation: further development, Technical Cooperation: testing of new applications; Technical Cooperation: adaptation to specific needs.

Intellectual property status

Related Keywords

  • Industrial manufacturing, Material and Transport Technologies
  • Coatings
  • Biological Sciences
  • Agriculture and Marine Resources
  • Agrofood Industry
  • Protecting Man and Environment
  • Medical Health related
  • fish
  • Films
  • membranes
  • amines
  • smart tag


The aim of the The Technology Transfer Office (TTO) of the Univesidad de Burgos is to promote Innovation technology through the reseach results transfer and the conexions between the University and the new needs and requirements of the society - we are the link between the University and the Industry. Contact person: José Manuel López (


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