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ITRI Introduces Handheld Pesticide Residue Detector for Consumer Use While Washing Fruits or Vegetables

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ITRI Introduces Handheld Pesticide Residue Detector for Consumer Use While Washing Fruits or Vegetables

Device determines if pesticide residues are within a safe range while users wash fruits or vegetables; indicates when washing is complete

ITRI introduced the Handy Smart Vegetables & Fruits Pesticides Dynamic Degradation Detector (HS3D), a pesticide detector for consumer use for washing fruits or vegetables. The HS3D determines if the amount of pesticide residues is safe and lets the user know when washing is complete. ITRI is currently seeking partnerships with global companies that will bring this innovative patented technology to market.

HS3D detects pesticide residues when users wash vegetables and fruits.
HS3D detects pesticide residues when users wash vegetables and fruits.


ITRI today introduces the Handy Smart Vegetables & Fruits Pesticides Dynamic Degradation Detector (HS3D), a pesticide detector for consumer use for washing fruits or vegetables. The HS3D determines if the amount of pesticide residues is safe and lets the user know when washing is complete. ITRI is currently seeking partnerships with global companies that will bring this innovative patented technology to market.

The HS3D detects eight washable pesticides from the top 10 pesticide ranking lists in the U.S. and China. If used in tandem with specialized fruit and vegetable cleansers, such as Chlorine Bleach solution or Commercial Produce Washes just like Fit Fruit and Vegetable Wash, it can also detect fat-soluble pesticides up to a 0.5 parts-per-million (ppm) detection limit.

The HS3D is a breakthrough in pesticide detection for consumer use. Until now, pesticide detection was available only through commercial laboratories and equipment. “Compared to current laboratory pesticide residual detection techniques for commercial use that take one-to-two weeks to deliver a result due to time-consuming biochemical methods, ITRI’s HS3D requires no pre-processing, delivers an immediate result, and can be placed directly into water while washing fruits or vegetables. With this portable system, consumers no longer have to guess whether fruits and vegetables are clean,” said Dr. Chun-Hsun Chu, General Director of Smart Microsystems Technology Center at ITRI.

The HS3D availability is timely, given the current high use of pesticides, and concerns about their long-term effects. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture Pesticide Data Program Annual Summary, Calendar Year 2015, 85 percent of thousands of tested foods contained pesticide residues. “Cancer health effects of pesticides: systematic review,” published by Canadian Family Physician, positively associates exposure to pesticides with non-Hodgkin lymphoma, leukemia, brain, prostate and kidney cancers.

The HS3D includes a dedicated mobile app together with a cloud platform and database, which can be expanded by HS3D vendors to include more pesticides for additional protection. Integration with the mobile app also provides information from a household food diet testing prevention system, which can detect early stage food spoilage. The combination of the HS3D and its database can offer new applications for guarding household food safety.

The HS3D is easy to operate and read. The user pushes one button to activate the detector, and places the detector in water with the fruits or vegetables. The detector displays red, yellow, and green lights on the wireless charger indicating results. A red flashing light indicates danger, meaning further washing is needed; a yellow flashing light displays while washing is in progress; and a green flashing light signals that washing is complete.

The HS3D includes patented technology innovations that make the first portable, affordable, real-time pesticide residue detector possible. It employs “Fabry-Perot Detection Spectrum System” and “Dynamic Degradative Algorithm.”

Fabry-Perot Detection Spectrum System

Knowing each pesticide has a unique spectral absorption optical wavelength, ITRI designed a chip based on the Fabry-Perot spectrum filter, covering multispectral absorption frequency bands of commonly used pesticides, to calculate key pesticide concentrations. Conventional optical grating for beam splitting often requires matching linear array light sensors, such as charge-coupled devices (CCDs) or contact image sensors (CISs), accompanied by higher-cost reading circuits and modules. However, the Fabry-Perot device for the conduction of beam splitting requires only one light sensor (e.g. a photodiode sensor). This not only significantly reduces system size but also decreases production cost, while enhancing the signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) of light signals. Moreover, the Fabry-Perot component is more durable against vibration or collision than conventional systems, and it simplifies the relative locations of the optical components while reducing system size allowing for the detector to be small and portable.

Dynamic Degradative Algorithm

The content of the pesticide varies based on washing time for different fruits and vegetables. Therefore, ITRI’s dynamic degradative algorithm was developed for real-time monitoring of the pesticide washing process. The system automatically decides whether the pesticide concentration level falls within the safety range. This algorithm effectively detects interfering sources during washing, such as water from different sources, or the presence of a fruit and vegetable cleanser (e.g. baking soda); making it easy to introduce into various household scenarios.

The HS3D won a Jury’s Special Best Choice Award at COMPUTEX TAIPEI this year, and is currently a finalist for the R&D 100 Awards in the U.S.

Here is the link to a video from ITRI about the Handy Smart Vegetables & Fruits Pesticides Dynamic Degradation Detector (HS3D): https://youtu.be/jZxRgC0bD6U