Skip to main content

A Combined System of Paper Device and Portable Spectrometer for the Detection of Pesticide Residues


Pesticide residues are detected in food items globally at levels that may cause health problems. Paper-based analytical devices have emerged as an alternative low-cost and field-based tools for determining target analytes including the pesticide residues. However, the paper devices with colorimetric detection system are limited by lower sensitivity due to their inability to record wavelength specific signal from the assays when image analysis detection method is used. In this paper, we report a low-cost analytical method that combines paper-analytical platform with a do-it-yourself desktop spectrometer to determine pesticide residues in vegetables and fruits. The pesticide determination method utilizes acetylcholinesterase enzyme inhibition assay on paper platform for signal generation. The signal of the assay was then measured using a spectrometer made from locally available components. The enzyme reaction parameters were optimized using multivariate optimization methodology to obtain better assay signal. The average repeatability of the assay method was 5.7% RSD. The combined method responded to the concentration of dichlorvos pesticide with a linear range from 0.01 to 0.25 mg/kg and detection limit of 0.023 mg/kg using only 4 μL of reagents and sample. As the enzyme inhibition assay used in this work is not able to discriminate individual pesticides, it can be used as a low-cost method for initial screening of pesticide residues in food samples in field settings.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

Fig. 1
Fig. 2
Fig. 3
Fig. 4
Fig. 5


Download references


This work was supported by NAS and USAID (AID-OAA-A-11-00012) through Partnerships for Enhanced Engagement in Research (PEER) grant. Preliminary work of this paper was supported by International Foundation for Science (IFS), Sweden, and Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), The Hague (Research Grant No. F/5777–1), and The World Academy of Sciences (TWAS), Italy (Research Grant No. 15–209 RG/CHE/AS_I – FR3240287080). Funding agencies were not involved in designing and implementing the research project and the paper do not necessarily reflect their views.

Author information

Authors and Affiliations


Corresponding author

Correspondence to Basant Giri.

Ethics declarations

Conflict of Interest

Muna Fuyal declares that she has no conflict of interest. Basant Giri declares that he has no conflict of interest.

Ethical Approval

Ethical approval was not required for the work presented in this paper.

Informed Consent

Informed consent not applicable.

Additional information

Publisher’s Note

Springer Nature remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.

Electronic Supplementary Material


(PDF 530 kb)

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Fuyal, M., Giri, B. A Combined System of Paper Device and Portable Spectrometer for the Detection of Pesticide Residues. Food Anal. Methods 13, 1492–1502 (2020).

Download citation

  • Received:

  • Accepted:

  • Published:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI:


  • Dichlorvos
  • Enzyme inhibition assay
  • Food safety
  • Low-cost technology