Muscat: An Omani researcher and her team have developed a portable device to test the levels of pesticides in food and environmental samples, making it easy to assess the quality of fruits and vegetables grown in farms in the country.
The research project, titled “A novel and selective multi-emission chemiluminescence system for the quantification of deltamethrin in food samples,” was conducted by Iman Al Yahyai from Sultan Qaboos University and was among the 13 winning projects in the 8th National Research Award organised by the Ministry of Higher Education, Research and Innovation. The project was awarded in the Cultural, Social and Basic Sciences field in the Young Researcher’s category.
For this research project, Iman Al Yahyai and her team developed a portable device for on-site testing of pesticides in environmental and food samples by establishing a novel, strong and powerful chemiluminescence (CL) system resulting in a multi-emission peaks for selective determination of deltamethrin (DM). This system is based on the enhancing effect of polyphosphates (PP) on graphene quantum dots (GQDs) – potassium permanganate CL reaction.
“Special attention should be paid to different local and imported products in the market to ensure the quality of these products and their nutritional value,” she said. “Some of these products are put up in the market under the name of organic food and are sold at very high prices. Many efforts have been devoted to food analysis and both governments and citizens, especially farmers, may face several challenges in the analysis of different food samples either for monitoring purposes or to obtain the required certificates.
“The need for farmers to transport their products over long distances to specialised laboratories can lead to food spoilage reducing their profits,” she added.
“Moreover, for monitoring the food quality, carrying the whole fruit and vegetable products from the farms in Oman, results in a high overload on the government which means spending a lot of money in providing the required instrumentations and specialist technicians, increasing the analysis cost and the time needed to perform the test.”
This study has been introduced to reduce the burden on citizens as well as the government by establishing a portable analytical device as an alternative method for the analysis of pesticides in food and environmental samples. It can also facilitate the government in monitoring the food quality by performing on-site analysis at the lowest cost and fastest time and decreasing the pressure on laboratories.
This method was applied successfully on different fruit juices collected from local markets. Results were very promising and all samples were free from DM. Such positive results increase the confidence of the customers in the quality of the marketed products in local markets.
This research project was conducted by Iman Al Yahyai, Dr. Haider Al Lawati and Dr. Javad Hassanzadeh. It was published in a journal titled Sensors and Actuators B: Chemical.
Regarding her win, Iman stated: “It is an absolute honour to receive the National Research Award instituted by the Ministry of Higher Education, Research and Innovation. This award is very important for me and is a significant milestone in my life to encourage me to devote more effort and I hope to continue doing my best in the future.