New Biosensor Tests for Toxins Using Microbes
May 14 2012 01:23 PM ET
A new biosensor device dubbed the "dip Chip" uses microbes to quickly and accurately detect toxins.
The microbes in the Dip Chip exhibit a biological reaction to toxin chemicals, mimicking the response of humans or animals.
That biological reaction is then converted into an electronic signal that can be converted into a "toxic" or "not toxic" signal.
When perfected for commercial applications, the chip might be easily plugged into a mobile device such as a cell phone or tablet to determine toxicity, said Yosi Shacham-Diamand, an engineer at Israel's Tel Aviv University who helped develop the sensor.
Anything that harms the microbes in the Dip Chip is considered toxic, so the biosensor picks up on any and all toxic materials, even those that have not been discovered or invented yet, its developers say.
Schacham-Diamand envisions the Dip Chip being useful in the cosmetics or pharmaceuticals industries, where they could be used to detect the toxicity of new compounds in place of lab animals.
Details of the new biosensor have been published in numerous journals, including Electrochimica Acta and Sensors and Actuators B: Chemical.