Reusable, Paper-based Lycopene Sensors

Reusable, Paper-based Lycopene Sensors

Recently, researchers from the Mohali-based Institute of Nano Science and Technology (INST) have developed a Nano-biosensor to detect ‘lycopene sensors’.

Key Points

  • This sensor uses a portable smartphone-based upconverting reusable fluorescent paper strip.
  • This transparent upconversion nanoparticle strip (UCNP) has been found to be sensitive to lycopene. A simple smartphone camera can be used to detect this.


  • Photon upconversion is an optical phenomenon that describes the emission of shorter wavelength light compared to that of the excitation source.
  • According to the researchers, the newly developed transparent strip exhibits minimum scattering with maximum sensitivity, despite not using any metal sedatives, compared to earlier paper strips.
  • The strip’s hydrophobicity capability provides the strip the ability to be reused with nearly 100% luminescence recovery. Also, this could help make the process of lycopene detection easier, cheaper and less time-consuming.


  • Lycopene is a carotenoid found in tomatoes, grapes, watermelon and papayas. It is a phytochemical with high commercial value.
  • It is also synthesized by plants and microorganisms but cannot be synthesized by the human body.
  • It can be obtained by humans only through diet.
  • It is a powerful antioxidant that helps in the prevention of cancer and heart diseases. However, lycopene has potent antioxidant effects so it may interfere with chemotherapy and radiation therapy. Therefore cancer patients are advised to use lycopene supplement with caution.
  • It is known that the quality of the product is evaluated on the basis of the lycopene present in it and the price is fixed accordingly.

Source – The Hindu

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