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Development of a low-cost pesticide detection method using paper-based analytical device and desktop spectrometer
Muna Fuyal, Basant Giri

Last modified: 2017-08-18


Pesticide residue in environment has become a major concern today. Pesticide use in Nepal is growing by 10-20% per year with the increased risk of pesticide misuse. Insecticides, organophosphates and carbamates are commonly used pesticides by Nepali farmers. Monitoring of pesticide contamination in food, vegetables and water samples is essential to avoid potential health hazards. Traditional detection techniques like spectrophotometer, high performance liquid chromatography, gas chromatography, or mass spectrometry are time consuming, have tedious operations and require expensive instruments and trained personnel. Here, we present a paper-based analytical device (PAD) to detect pesticide residue in vegetable samples. The PAD was fabricated on Whatman filter paper using commercially available permanent marker. The low-cost colorimetric assay is based on the inhibition of acetylcholinesterase enzyme activity on enzyme substrate by pesticide. The change in color was measured by a low-cost desktop spectrometer at 412nm. We optimized the PAD method by using standard organophosphate, Malathion of different concentrations. The new method was tested on cucumber samples spiked with the standard pesticide solution. This low-cost and easy to use method holds great potential to be used in resource limited settings.

Keywords: Paper-based device, Organophosphate, Carbamate, Microfluidics, Desktop Spectrometer, Acetylcholinesterase inhibition assay

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