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Colorimetric Paper-Based Dual Indicator Label for Real-Time Monitoring of Fish Freshness

Bambang Kuswandi*orcid tiny, Faridatul Hasanah, Dwi Koko Pratokoorcid tiny and Nia Kristiningrumorcid tiny

Chemo and Biosensors Group, Faculty of Pharmacy, University of Jember, Jl. Kalimantan 37, Jember, 68121, Indonesia

Article history:

Received: 3 December 2021

Accepted: 18 July 2022

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dual indicators; pH indicator dyes; colorimetric sensor; fish freshness; intelligent packaging


Research backgroundFish freshness and quality monitoring are of high importance for consumers, retailers and fishing industry. Therefore, developing novel approaches that are simple, fast, non-destructive and inexpensive to monitor fish freshness in real time is of great value. One alternative is using Intelligent or smart packaging to monitor the freshness or conditions of packaged fish.

Experimental approachOn-package dual indicator label based on paper-based pH sensors was developed for real-time monitoring of the milkfish (Chanos chanos) freshness. The paper-based pH sensor was prepared using bromocresol purple (BCP) and bromothymol blue (BTB) that were immobilized onto a filter paper by dip coating. Herein, the fish degradation could be monitored visually by the dual indicator label, where the BCP changes from yellow to pink, then finally to purple, while the BTP changes from orange to green-yellow, and finally to green-blue to indicate fresh, medium fresh or spoiled product, respectively.

Results and conclusionsThe label responds to the pH change caused by the fish degradation and the colour of dual indicator changes to show the fish freshness at room temperature and chiller conditions. This pH change was followed by changes in the other parameters related to fish freshness, such as total volatile basic nitrogen (TVBN), total viable count (TVC), texture and odour. The threshold of fish spoilage at room temperature was observed at 8 h and under chiller conditions at 7 days when the deterioration time point was indicated by the colour changes. Thus, it can be concluded that the dual indicator label can be applied as a simple and low-cost on-package active label for fish freshness monitoring.

Novelty and scientific contributionIncreasing consumer concerns about quality and safe food worldwide has boosted the search for a novel approach to food monitoring. In this work, a simple and practical on-package dual indicator label for real-time monitoring of fish freshness was developed. The colorimetric pH sensor was obtained simply by dip-coating of filter paper, yet it enables easy and accurate detection of fish spoilage with the naked eye. Similarly, the dual indicator labelchanges colour for other freshness parameters, such as TVBN, TVC, texture and odour.

*Corresponding author:

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