Smartphone-based optical assays in the food safety field

Joost Nelis*, Aristeidis Tsagkaris, Michael Dillon, Jana Hajšlová, Christopher Elliott

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Citations (Scopus)


Smartphone based devices (SBDs) have the potential to revolutionise food safety control by empowering citizens to perform screening tests. To achieve this, it is of paramount importance to understand current research efforts and identify key technology gaps. Therefore, a systematic review of optical SBDs in the food safety sector was performed. An overview of reviewed SBDs is given focusing on performance characteristics as well as image analysis procedures. The state-of-the-art on commercially available SBDs is also provided. This analysis revealed several important technology gaps, the most prominent of which are: (i) the need to reach a consensus regarding optimal image analysis, (ii) the need to assess the effect of measurement variation caused by using different smartphones and (iii) the need to standardize validation procedures to obtain robust data. Addressing these issues will drive the development of SBDs and potentially unlock their massive potential for citizen-based food control.
Original languageEnglish
JournalTrAC - Trends in Analytical Chemistry
Publication statusPublished - 04 Jun 2020


  • smartphones
  • colorimetric assay
  • fluorescence assay
  • food safety
  • image analysis
  • paper-based assay
  • portable
  • lateral flow immunoassay


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