Navigation Links
Dip chip technology tests toxicity on the go
Date:5/14/2012

From man-made toxic chemicals such as industrial by-products to poisons that occur naturally, a water or food supply can be easily contaminated. And for every level of toxic material ingested, there is some level of bodily response, ranging from minor illness to painful certain death.

Biosensors have long been used to safeguard against exposure to toxic chemicals. Food tasters employed by the ancients acted as early versions of biosensors, determining if a meal had been poisoned. More modern examples include the use of fish, which may alter their swimming characteristics if a toxic material is introduced into to the water. But although current warning systems are more sophisticated, they require equipment and time that a soldier in the field or an adventurer in the wilderness do not have.

Now Prof. Yosi Shacham-Diamand, Vice Dean of Tel Aviv University's Faculty of Engineering, along with Prof. Shimshon Belkin of the Institute of Life Sciences at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, has married biology and engineering to produce a biosensor device called the "Dip Chip," which detects toxicity quickly and accurately, generating low false positive and false negative readings. The Dip Chip contains microbes designed to exhibit a biological reaction to toxic chemicals, emulating the biological responses of humans or animals.

Converting biological response to electricity

The biological reaction is converted into an electronic signal that can be read by the user. When perfected for commercial applications, the chip might be easily plugged into a mobile device to determine toxicity, says Prof. Shacham-Diamand.

The new chips are based on genetically modified microbes developed in Prof. Belkin's lab. When the modified microbes are exposed to toxic or poisonous materials, they produce a measurable biochemical reaction and this is where Prof. Shacham-Diamand's work begins.

"In my lab, we developed a method for communicating with the microbes, converting this biological response to electrical signals," he explains. The device, which looks like a dip stick, immobilizes these specially-produced microbes next to the sensing electrodes. Once the microbes come into contact with a questionable substance they produce a chemical signal that is converted to an electrical current by an device that can interpret the signals, producing a binary "toxic" or "not toxic" diagnosis.

In the future, Prof. Shacham-Diamand hopes that smaller versions of the Dip Chips might be plugged into existing mobile electronic devices, such as cell phones or tablets, to give the user a toxicity reading. This would make it an economically feasible and easy-to-use technology for people such as campers or for military purposes.

Reading any toxic material

One of the chip's advantages is its ability to identify toxicity as a biological quality instead of specific toxic chemicals. There are already excellent detectors to identify specific toxic materials, says Prof. Shacham-Diamand. The Dip Chip, however, is designed to alert the user to overall toxicity. And because the chip measures general toxicity, it will pick up on any and all toxic materials even those that have not been discovered or invented yet.

Beyond their ability to find toxic chemicals in the field, these chips can also be put to use in the cosmetics or pharmaceuticals industries, says Prof. Shacham-Diamand. They could be used to detect the toxicity of new compounds, minimizing the controversial use of lab animals. Using the same technology, the researchers have also developed a larger-scale device which allows water to flow continuously over the sensor, making it appropriate for online, real-time monitoring of water supplies.

The results of their research have been published in a number of journals, including Electrochimica Acta and Sensors and Actuators B: Chemical.


'/>"/>

Contact: George Hunka
ghunka@aftau.org
212-742-9070
American Friends of Tel Aviv University
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. BIO-key(R) to Showcase Biometric Security Applications at 2008 Biometric Technology Expo
2. Stantum Offering Demo, Evaluation & Development Board Based on Its Patented Resistive Multi-Touch Technology
3. Neurotechnology Releases SentiSight 2.0 SDK Universal Object Recognition Technology
4. Audience Selected as Silver Winner in This Years Wall Street Journal Technology Innovation Awards and Winner of the Semiconductors Category
5. Breakthrough optical technology to assess colon cancer risk, accuracy
6. So-called sandfish could help materials handling and process technology specialists
7. Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology News reports on growing role of molecular diagnostics
8. Human Microbiome Project awards funds for technology development, data analysis and ethical research
9. Europe rallies behind nanotechnology to wean world from fossil fuels
10. Nanotechnology boosts war on superbugs
11. Cost-effective farm waste-to-energy technology focus of research
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:1/27/2016)... Ohio , Jan. 27, 2016  Rite Track, ... based in West Chester, Ohio ... award winning service staff, based in Austin, ... capacity and ability to provide modifications, installations and technical ... Dovalina , CEO of PLUS, commented, "PLUS has provided ...
(Date:1/21/2016)... 21, 2016 --> ... market research report "Emotion Detection and Recognition Market by Technology ... (Facial Expression, Voice Recognition and Others), Services, Application ... to 2020", published by MarketsandMarkets, the global Emotion ... USD 22.65 Billion by 2020, at a CAGR ...
(Date:1/15/2016)... JUAN, Puerto Rico , Jan. 15, 2016 /PRNewswire/ ... companies big and small to find new ways to ... driven culture. iOS and Android ... device based on biometrics, transforming it into a hardware ... request that users swipe their fingerprint on their KodeKey ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:2/8/2016)... ... , ... Bulk food product inspection systems are specifically designed ... the production process. Despite frequently inspecting loose product prior to packaging, product inspection ... sacks of dry powders. , Mettler-Toledo Product Inspection's brand-new white paper entitled "Improving ...
(Date:2/8/2016)... the development of future natural products for crop protection. In ... center in Israel and invests substantial ... has a variety of products adapted to regional needs, ... than 35 counties worldwide. ... Gold ® is used to control a broad spectrum ...
(Date:2/6/2016)... McLean, VA (PRWEB) , ... February 06, 2016 , ... ... enrichment session, cost-free, for middle and high school teachers on Wednesday February 10, 2016. ... be held at the Smithsonian-Mason School of Conservation, located at 1500 Remount Road in ...
(Date:2/5/2016)... , Feb. 5, 2016  In the pharmaceutical industry ... a host of launch activities including the identification and ... launch activity is especially high in the oncology therapeutic ... Best Practices and the Role of Medical Affairs in ... focused on oncology therapies find better ways to utilize ...
Breaking Biology Technology: