Engineers Find A Way To Create Gluten Free Meals

Printer-friendly versionSend by emailPDF version



Nothing is more painful than to say no to a loving dinner or lunch invitation from a loved one when you are suffering with celiac. A painful health condition where “gluten” ingestion leads to attacks in digestive systems. Gluten intolerance is a awful condition that isolates the patient from normal food and compels them to stay away from normal meals with others. However, a ray of light was recently shone for these people when a team of MIT engineers came up with a gluten detector called Nima.

This device can determine up to 20 parts per million (ppm) of gluten in any food item. As per the U.S. Food and Drug Department, any beverage or food with 20ppm or lesser is considered as gluten-free. With these parameters, Nima comes up with sad or smiling emoticons for the owner and help them know what kind of food will be most suitable for their body.

In order to determine the gluten amount in a beverage or given meal, a pea-sized sample is placed over the NIma’s sensor’s degradable capsule. The user then needs to screw the top and place the capsule inside the device. The food gets mixed in a solution that detects gluten. The final results come in less than two or three minutes and you will know whether to eat the given dish or not. The solution is a kind of immunoassay with antibodies that are very responsive to gluten molecules. These antibodies get bonded with gluten and lead to color change in immunoassay. The color change is sensed through an optical reader and permits the sensor to declare the acceptance or rejection of food item being tested.

The makers have also prepared an app that gives out the results automatically and records data on what and where the users ate previously. It makes testing easier whenever the same food item is places twice in the device. The Chief Product officer, Scott Sundvor, likes to explain that “Right now, we don’t know what’s in our food, whether it is allergens, pesticides, or other harmful chemicals. There’s no good way to get that data. We want to give people the ability to understand their food better and how it affects their health.”

As per the National Institute of Health, around 1 per cent of U.S. population is currently suffering with celiac which means around 1 million people suffer from this problem. Therefore, a device like this can really help a lot of people in staying healthy and safe while leading a normal life.