Date of Award

2013

First Advisor

Michael Bergman

Second Advisor

Susan Mechanic-Meyers

Abstract

Rates of food allergies in children have more than tripled from 1997 to 2008. Predominant allergens are very common ingredients, such as peanuts, milk, eggs, soy, tree nuts, wheat, fish and shellfish. Despite the high incidence of food allergies, there is still a lack of a commercial tool to detect their presence in food. Food allergy sufferers are forced to be constantly monitoring their diet to reduce the risk of triggering an allergic reaction. These people could really benefit from a device to ease the task of food monitoring. Some of the ideal characteristics of this device include high accuracy, portability, and affordability. Based on these characteristics, several technologies such as spectroscopy and electronic scent detectors were explored before arriving to the final solution. Ultimately, lateral flow technology is incorporated into a portable device that has the potential of becoming the future of food allergen detection.

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