IIT Guwahati Researchers Develop Affordable Glycemic Index Sensor For Diabetes Management

A team of researchers from the Department of Chemical Engineering at the Indian Institute of Technology Guwahati (IIT Guwahati), under the leadership of Professor Dipankar Bandyopadhyay has successfully engineered an economical and dependable Glycemic Index (GI) sensor tailored for point-of-care applications. This innovative sensor has the capability to instantly assess the GI of various food items, offering invaluable support for diabetes management.

The Glycemic Index or GI is a measure that ranks carbohydrate-containing foods based on how they affect blood sugar levels when consumed. High-GI food can cause a rapid spike in blood glucose levels, followed by a swift decline. Moreover, these high-GI foods stimulate an increased demand for insulin, contributing to the risk of developing type-2 diabetes. Importantly, low-GI food helps to prevent diabetes, heart disease, obesity, and cancer.

As the trend of fast-food increases among the world’s working population, the need for a portable device that can immediately detect and guide the user about the GI of the food arises. The point-of-care-testing (POCT) prototype developed by the IIT Guwahati team can detect the glycemic Index of common food sources in approximately 5 minutes.

Explaining the detection methods Prof. Bandyopadhyay said, “We developed a composite nanoenzyme by combining gold nanoparticles with alpha-amylase to break down long-chain starch molecules into simpler sugars. We found that this nanoenzyme of approx. 30 nanometer size has remarkable heterogeneous catalytic properties to rapidly degrade starch into maltose at room temperature.”

The amount of maltose produced is then electrochemically detected to classify the food sources into Rapidly Digestible Starch (RDS) and Slowly Digestible Starch (SDS) along with Resistant Starch (RS).

Explaining the real time monitoring on fast food, Prof. Bandyopadhyay said, “When we tested the device on fast foods like crackers, biscuits, chips, and bread, we found that crackers have the most RDS, followed by potato chips, and then brown bread. Notably, the SDS/RS of brown bread releases maltose slowly, causing a gradual increase in glucose levels and a lower response from insulin in the body.”

The research findings have been published in the journal Sustainable Chemistry & Engineering by the American Chemical Society. The paper, co-authored by Mr. Prathu Raja Parmar, Mr Jiwajyoti Mahanta, Mr Saurabh Dubey, Mr Tapas Kumar Mandal, and Prof Dipankar Bandyopadhyay. The Paper can be accessed at https://doi.org/10.1021/acssuschemeng.3c02292.

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The researchers have also filed a patent Real-time glycemic index sensor comprising enzymatic biosynthesized gold nanocomposite, Prathu Raja Parmar, Saurabh Dubey, and Dipankar Bandyopadhyay, TEMP/E-1/36319/2023-KOL, Ref. No. 202331031908.

This research has been funded by the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), and the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY).

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