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Quick detection of periodontitis pathogens
Date:1/3/2013

ith two companies, BECIT GmbH and ERT-Optik, to develop a lab-on-a-chip module called ParoChip. In future this will allow dentists and medical labs to prepare samples quickly and then analyze the bacteria. All the steps in the process the duplication of DNA sequences and their detection take place directly on the platform, which consists of a disk-shaped microfluidic card that is around six centimeters in diameter. "Until now, analysis took around four to six hours. With ParoChip it takes less than 30 minutes. This means it's possible to analyze a large number of samples in a short amount of time," says Dr. Dirk Kuhlmeier, a scientist at the IZI.

The analysis is conducted in a contactless and fully automated manner. Samples are taken using sterile, toothpick-shaped paper points, after which the bacteria are removed from the point and their isolated DNA injected into reaction chambers containing dried reagents. There are eleven such chambers on each card, each featuring the reagent for one of the eleven periodontal pathogens. The total number of bacteria is determined in an additional chamber, via polymerase chain reaction (PCR). This method allows millions of copies of even tiny numbers of pathogen DNA sequences to be made. In order to generate the extremely quick changes in temperature that are required for PCR, the disk-shaped plastic chip is attached to a metal heating block with three temperature zones and mechanically turned so it passes over these zones. This causes a fluorescent signal to be generated that is measured by a connected optical measuring device featuring a fluorescence probe, a photo detector and a laser diode. The key benefit is that the signal makes it possible not only to quantify each type of bacterium and thus determine the severity of the inflammation, but also to establish the total number of all the bacteria combined. This enables doctors to fine-tune an antibiotic treatment accordingly.

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Contact: Dr. Dirk Kuhlmeier
dirk.kuhlmeier@izi.fraunhofer.de
49-341-355-369-312
Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft
Source:Eurekalert  

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