Purdue researchers develop technology for pathogen detection driven by lasers
Purdue University researchers have developed new technology to help stop the spread of foodborne illnesses by detecting them more efficiently.The researchers developed a lanthanide-based assay coupled with a laser that can be used to detect toxins and pathogenic E. coli in food samples, water and a variety of industrial materials, according to a university article.
The two key features of the new technology are the incorporation of lanthanides and simple lateral flow paper-based assays, according to the article.
The Purdue team created a method for combining different heavy metals that when linked to antibodies can detect multiple agents in a single analysis. The research is published in the journal Analytical and Bioanalytical Chemistry.
“Our goal was to incorporate easily detectable elements into a paper-based assay which is low-cost and effective,” said J. Paul Robinson, the SVM Professor of Cytomics in Purdue's College of Veterinary Medicine and a professor of biomedical engineering in Purdue's College of Engineering. Robinson is a BMES member.
“Designing a technology that is both low-cost but also accurate and can detect multiple antigens simultaneously was a critical factor in our decision to work on this problem,” he said.
The group is evaluating the potential for fully portable use that would allow field use in virtually any environment.
The approach uses a high-powered laser pulse to obliterate a sample, while simultaneously collecting the spectral signature of the resultant emission. These signals are then compared with a database that translates the signals into an identification of the toxin or pathogen.
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