Spanish scientists have developed a way to quantitatively measure the amount of iron in a solution using a colour changing material and photos taken on a smartphone.
Iron is present in almost every aspect of our lives but an excess, known as iron overload, can cause significant long term effects ranging from liver damage to arthritis as a result of iron deposition in organs or joints. As such, the amount of iron in a variety of environments needs to be carefully monitored.
Unlike traditional quantitative techniques, which require removing samples to the lab for assessment by trained specialists, the new approach devised by José Miguel García and colleagues at the University of Burgos can return a result within 15 minutes. Central to the technique is 8-hydroxyquinoline, a particularly stable iron chelator, which is immobilised on a polymer disk and will change colour depending on the amount of iron chelated to it.
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Solid sensory polymer substrates for the quantification of iron in blood, wine and water by a scalable RGB technique
Saúl Vallejos, Asunción Muñoz, Saturnino Ibeas, Felipe Serna, Félix Clemente García and José Miguel García
J. Mater. Chem. A, 2013, Advance Article