Development of a volatile amine sensor for the monitoring of fish spoilage

Alexis Pacquit, King Tong Lau, Henry McLaughlin, June Frisby, Brid Quilty, Dermot Diamond*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

243 Citations (Scopus)


A sensor with potential for the development of a "chemical barcode" for real-time monitoring of fish freshness is described. This on-package sensor contains a pH sensitive dye, bromocresol green, that responds through visible colour change to basic volatile spoilage compounds, such as trimethylamine (TMA), ammonia (NH3) and dimethylamine (DMA) collectively known as Total Volatile Basic Nitrogen (TVB-N). The sensor characteristics were studied as well as its response with standard ammonia gas. Trials on cod and under-utilised species have verified that the sensor response correlates with bacterial growth patterns in fish samples thus enabling the "real-time" monitoring of spoilage in various fish species. The sensor response can be interrogated with a simple, inexpensive reflectance colorimeter that we have developed based on two light emitting diodes (LEDs) and a photodetector.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)515-520
Number of pages6
Issue number2 SPEC. ISS.
Publication statusPublished - 15 Apr 2006
Externally publishedYes


  • Chemical bar-coding
  • Chromoreactive dyes
  • Fish freshness monitoring
  • Smart packaging
  • TVB-N
  • Volatile amines

Cite this