The “edible label” that can be degraded after drinking makes fake alcohol and medicine nowhere to hide

At any time, food and drug safety is an important issue in people's lives. However, all kinds of counterfeit and shoddy products are always hard to guard against. If you want to identify the real and fake products, you may have to have "eyes." However, it is obviously impossible for everyone to have such an ability. to assist.

▲ Picture from: Unsplash

A joint research team formed by Purdue University in Indiana, USA and the National Institute of Agricultural Sciences in Korea has developed an "edible label" for the purpose of identifying counterfeit medicines. The relevant research results have been published in the journal "ACS Publications".

This "edible label" material is made of silk fibroin extracted from silk and a variety of different fluorescent protein genes. The information is then encoded in a manner similar to a traditional barcode or QR code, which can be activated with a smartphone to confirm the authenticity of the product.

▲ Picture from: "ACS Publications"

After demonstrating oral drug and alcohol doses in simulated settings using smartphones, the researchers also used proteolytic enzymes released in the gastrointestinal tract to study the digestibility of the "edible label" for protein denaturation and degradation.

Since some liquid medicines contain alcohol, and counterfeiting of medicines and alcohol is a big problem around the world, spirits can be easily counterfeited and people can easily buy counterfeit opioids. So the researchers decided to focus on alcoholic drugs, and test them first in whiskey with a higher alcohol content.

▲ Picture from: Purdue University

In tests, the researchers placed the tags on different brands and price points of whisky, all of which were able to continuously activate the tags and codes using a smartphone app. In addition, the research team has also developed methods and methods for activating the tags by smartphones under various light settings.

This tag uses proteins (silk fibroin and fluorescent protein) that are easily denatured and degraded by pepsin. Due to its unique silk protein structure, it is also tolerant in liquid solutions with high alcohol content, and is also biocompatible, photostable, and thermally reliable.

▲ Picture from: "ACS Publications"

Because it's an edible label, it won't cause any problems if swallowed while drinking the whisky, and the label won't affect the taste of the whisky.

The researchers believe that this "useable label" could serve as an additional authentication mechanism for pharmaceutical companies and alcohol producers to identify authenticity by being placed individually on high-priced alcohol bottles or expensive drugs.

▲ Picture from: "ACS Publications"

Or in a hospital pharmacy, reduce the risk of dispensing errors by assisting in the development and production of single-unit packaging and unit-dose volume packaging.

That said, the edible label could allow patients to play a regulatory role in combating illegal drugs and maintain a sustainable health care system, as well as allowing buyers to avoid fake alcohol that can harm their health. Small labels It can make counterfeit products "nowhere to hide".

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