Comparison of Mobile Phone and CCD Cameras for Electrochemiluminescent Detection of Biogenic Amines

Nic Heckenlaible, Sarah Snyder, Patrick Herchenbach, Alyssa Kava, Charles S. Henry, Erin M. Gross

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Biogenic amines are an important and widely studied class of molecules due to their link to the physiological processes of food-related illnesses and histamine poisoning. Electrochemiluminescent (ECL) detection offers an inexpensive and portable analytical method of detection for biogenic amines when coupled with recent advancements in low-cost carbon-based electrodes and a smartphone camera. In this work, a mobile phone camera was evaluated against a piece of conventional instrumentation, the charge-coupled device, for the detection of ECL from the reaction of biogenic amines with the luminescent compound tris(2,2′-bipyridyl)ruthenium(II). Assisted by a 3D-printed light-tight housing, the mobile phone achieved limits of detection of 127, 425 and 421 μM for spermidine, putrescine, and histamine, respectively. The mobile phone’s analytical figures of merit were lesser than the CCD camera but were still within the range to detect contamination. In an exploration of real-world samples, the mobile phone was able to determine the contents of amines in skim milk on par with that of a CCD camera.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number7008
Issue number18
StatePublished - Sep 2022

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Analytical Chemistry
  • Information Systems
  • Biochemistry
  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics
  • Instrumentation
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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