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A nano-scale tagging system used both to tracks cells in the human organism and monitors commercial items along the production and distribution chains. It is also being used in nature to supervise wildlife on land or in the air or water.

For many global industries and government regulators, handling both counterfeiting and contamination remain top concerns, with public health implications and a substantial economic impact at stake. As a solution, nano-scale tagging systems could be used to monitor and tag a variety of items, improving supply chain efficiency while making it easier to track assets and general-purpose compliance applications.

These nanotags can take shape as nanogel marking or synthetic DNA coated with silica. Luminescent proteins could also be used to respond to microbes, allowing easy and obvious detection of contamination. This tagging system would react to chemicals, pathogens, and toxins present in goods, thus helping enhance the process of monitoring the item throughout the production and distribution chains. Once applied, nanotags can't be replaced or removed from the product, besides they don’t alter the color, flavor, or texture.

The present state of the product could be reported using the information gathered through the nanotags. The data collected could be used to generate consumer awareness, such as in cosmetics, when buyers can have access to the current condition of a given product, a defacto updated expiration date. Also, this technology can help companies better manage their goods and systems, increasing productivity and efficiency, bringing economic benefits to both farmers and retailers while improving product quality and prices for consumers. In the healthcare industry, for instance, by applying a safe and highly sensitive multimodal nanoimaging agent in the human body, it would enable noninvasive, quantitative, and longitudinal stem cell tracking. In this process, labeled stem cells are injected into an injured muscle and then tracked by an imaging system.

Today, this technology is being used to observe and track wildlife, such as birds, bats, large insects, and fish. This data can give insights on migration patterns to help find more suitable locations for wind turbines and other buildings. There is also a potential use for this technological solution to monitor pets and livestock for the early detection of zoonotic diseases.

Future Perspectives
In the future, nanotagging is expected to help researchers identify patterns of perhaps hundreds of molecules that form molecular signatures for different applications. It offers smarter solutions that one day it may include connective features like with the Internet of Things applications. Furthermore, it could help raise awareness for consumers concerning ethical marketplaces and encourage their managers and owners to crack down on intellectual property abuse.

As countries increasingly grow adverse to agrochemicals, nanotags will make it easier for inspectors to identify if molecules have been altered or were subject to prohibited substances. Such tags could become a mandatory practice to facilitate the work of some regulatory bodies inspecting goods.

Nanotagging

KEY TRENDS

Internet of Things