Portable Detectors Could Enable Affordable Detection of Pollution

by Bidita Debnath on  June 23, 2017 at 12:34 AM Cancer News
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Pollution is a big environmental issue which everyone must be aware of. Environmental pollution and food contaminants, traditional sensors can help when it comes to testing for cancer.
 Portable Detectors Could Enable Affordable Detection of Pollution
Portable Detectors Could Enable Affordable Detection of Pollution

The challenges are that they often are bulky, expensive, non-intuitive and complicated. Now, one team reports in ACS Sensors that portable pressure-based detectors coupled with smartphone software could provide a simpler, more affordable alternative while still maintaining sensitivity.

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Current disease and contamination sensors require expensive readout equipment or trained personnel. Yuehe Lin, Yong Tang and colleagues propose a new detection system based on pressure changes. For example, when a disease biomarker is present, it causes a chain reaction in the device that results in oxygen being released and pressure building. The pressure changes are measured by a portable barometer, and smartphone software provides an easy readout of the results.

To show the versatility of the pressure sensor, the team tested a variety of applications. Prototypes could detect carcinoembryonic antigen, a protein present in high levels in patients with colon or rectal cancer; ractopamine, which is an animal-feed additive banned in many countries; and thrombin, a cardiovascular disease marker.

In addition, a mercury-ion sensor was developed for environmental pollution monitoring. The researchers say that because the results are immediately available with a smartphone, the method could enable real-time monitoring of environmental pollution, disease outbreaks and food safety.

Source: Eurekalert

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