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

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.


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

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