Silk-Based Food Sensors


Wireless sensors

Development Phase

Proof of concept demonstrations testing sensors on bananas, eggs, apples, cheese, and milk


Tufts investigators published a method to make wireless passive antennas on silk substrates across multiple regions of the electromagnetic spectrum. Silk flexible sensors are created by embedding gold antennae in a purified silk film that can be easily applied to curved objects and adhere conformally.

Wireless sensors

The devices were tested for function by monitoring their resonant responses continuously during the spoilage process to assess potential to monitor changes in food quality. Proof-of-principle demonstrations were performed by monitoring fruit ripening with an RFID-like silk sensor transferred onto fruit skin, and spoilage of dairy products through surface contact or immersion.

Pure-protein silk film substrates can be used as inexpensive, edible, and eco-friendly sensing platforms that safely interface with consumable goods and provide in situ monitoring of food quality.

Lead Investigator(s)

Fiorenzo Omenetto, David Kaplan and Hu Tao, Department of Biomedical Engineering, Tufts University

Key Publication

Tao, H. et al. Adv Mater (2012). 24: 1067–1072


US Patent Application 13/641,000


Martin Son