American scientists have used Tootsie Roll candy toffee material to develop an inexpensive, low-waste health monitoring sensor. All you need to do is lick it. Details about the development are reported by the journal ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces.

One-off diagnostic tests are impractical for healthcare professionals or patients in resource-limited areas, not only economically but ecologically. US scientists have decided to close the need for simple, low-cost health sensors by using a non-standard material – Tootsie Roll – to develop a low-cost, low-waste device. The lollipop was used as an electrode, the part of the sensor that detects salt and electrolyte levels in saliva. This allows you to monitor your ovulation status or kidney health.

Scientists are confident that their development will replace disposable test strips. In recent years, they have increased the speed and accuracy of home health monitoring. The problem is that these sensors leave a lot of waste.

Tootsie Roll is a chocolate-flavored toffee-like candy that has been produced in the United States since 1907. Candies are similar to toffee and caramel, but they are neither one nor the other. The manufacturer, Tootsie Roll Industries, is based in Chicago, Illinois, USA.

To create a prototype sensor, the researchers first pressed the candy into a flat, corrugated shape. They then inserted two thin, reusable aluminum tubes that acted as electrical contacts, connecting the lollipop electrode to the current source and the output voltage detector.

In preliminary tests, the device could measure salt levels, which were physiologically important for health monitoring in saltwater solution and artificial saliva.