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Just showing posts with the tag sensor science

Bio-Sensing Technology Series: Microbial detection and biocontrol 

Posted by Denise Hope | 0 comments
29Aug2012
Welcome to the third article in our Bio-Sensing Technology series, looking at microbial detection and biocontrol. This technology is led by Dr Darren Reynolds and we ask him to tell us a bit more about his research.

So what is microbial detection and biocontrol? What are the benefits and applications?
Microbial Detection and Biocontrol methods can be developed to ensure effective safeguarding of human health within environmental, healthcare and agri-food processes. Microbial detection and biocontrol technology platforms have been developed for a range of industrial and biomedical applications in collaboration with academia, business and enterprise.

Applied microbiological modelling and bio-photonics techniques (including low-light imaging, hyperspectral imaging and spectro-fluorometry) are used for the quantitative analysis and spectroscopic interrogation of biological processes.

Can you give us some examples of projects where the paramagnetic particle-based detection system has been used?

Electrochemically activated solutions (ECAS)
Due to the limitations associated with the use of existing biocidal agents, there is a need to explore new methods of decontamination to help maintain effective bioburden control, especially within the healthcare environment. ECAS have been shown to have broad spectrum antimicrobial activity and have the potential to be widely adopted due to low cost raw material requirements, ease of production and biocompatibility. The institute has expertise in the development and deployment of these novel biocides, including research undertaken in biodefence, biocontrol and food quality and safety.

Water quality sensors
In collaboration with industry, cutting edge deployable optical sensors for water quality monitoring based on fluorescence spectroscopy are being developed. These sensors can be deployed and left in situ for extended periods enabling online real-time water quality monitoring.

Bacteriophage (viruses that infect bacteria)
Bacteriophages are perhaps the most predominant biological entities in the biosphere and have great potential as antimicrobial agents within clinical and industrial settings. Real-time detection technologies based on bioluminescent bacterial reporters are utilised to screen for and determine the efficacy of, newly discovered bacteriophages for use within clinical, food safety and agricultural applications.

Non-thermal plasma
Non-thermal plasma is generated by electric discharge excitation producing a neutral ionised gas. This novel technology has known antimicrobial properties and is being evaluated in collaboration with industrial partners for various decontamination applications.

Lead researchers: Dr Darren Reynolds, University of the West of England

For more information about Microbial Detection and Biocontrol, please visit the Centre for Research in Biosciences website.

Learning to sniff bad breath can help diagnose oral disease 

Posted by Denise Hope | 1 comment
03Aug2012
An unusual course is being run at UWE Bristol for health professionals who want to help patients with bad breath. According to the microbiologists running the course, bad breath - or oral malodour - is the third most common reason for people to visit their dentists. However dentists are not trained to distinguish the causes of oral malodour using their sense of smell.

Professor John Greenman runs the course with Dr Saliha Saad who is a trained oral malodour judge. They point out that smells on the breath come from either microbes or the metabolism of the body. In 80% of cases, bad breath is due to microbes in the mouth, and not to conditions elsewhere in the body. Oral malodour could be caused by microbes on the tongue, inflammation of the gums or tooth decay. These conditions give off specific smells which a trained 'nose' can detect, differentiate and then treat appropriately.

The course is aimed at doctors, dentists, hygienists, nurses and technicians and will train participants to recognise and identify the main groups of malodour compounds that occur on breath of individuals.

John and Saliha's work on microbes and their odours has other health applications for example in dealing with infected wounds.

The next UWE oral malodour course starts on 3 September - participants come from all over the world including the USA, the Middle-East and Europe and include academics as well as medical and dental professionals.

For further information read the full press release here.

Bio-Sensing Technology Series: Paramagnetic particle-based detection system 

Posted by Denise Hope | 5 comments
18Jul2012
Welcome to the second article in our Bio-Sensing Technology series, looking at a paramagnetic particle-based detection system. This technology is led by Professor Richard Luxton and Profesor Janice Kiely, directors of the Institute of Bio-Sensing Technology (IBST), and we ask them to tell us a bit more about their research.

So what is a paramagnetic particle-based detection system?
The paramagnetic particle-based detection system uses paramagnetic particles (PMPs) to detect biological interactions between two complementary binding partners such as antibodies and antigens (analytes) in an immunoassay.

This is a biosensor that can provide measurement of analyte concentration within a test sample in just few minutes. In this system, the test samples and PMP labels are added to a reaction vessel in the biosensor and are attracted to a reaction surface at the base of the vessel, using a magnet where specific binding takes place. Unlike other immunoassay systems no extra washing or processing procedures are required. The bound particles, and associated antigen are detected using a coil under the surface of the biosensor.

What are the benefits?
The use of paramagnetic particles as a label in an immunoassay has resulted in the development of a rapid and highly sensitive biosensing device. Substances in the part-per-trillion concentration range have been measured. The novel instrumentation is inexpensive and can be powered by standard, small batteries to be used as a handheld system for field testing.

What are the applications of the paramagnetic particle-based detection system?
This is a platform technology and has a wide range of applications in areas such as point of care diagnostics, environmental testing, bio-security and food quality.

Can you give us some examples of projects where the paramagnetic particle-based detection system has been used?
A number of projects have been funded to develop the technology for different applications to meet specific needs for companies. For example:

Diagnostic markers: Includes a range of projects to detect biomarkers of disease such as cardiac or cancer markers. There is also a project for the raid detection of bacteria such as clostridium difficile.

Environmental testing: Government funded projects, for explosive residue in the environment enable a highly sensitive and rapid assay to be developed. 

Food safety and quality: A number of projects in this sector have focused on the rapid detection of bacteria in food materials.

Lead researchers: Professor Richard Luxton and Profesor Janice Kiely

For more information about the paramagnetic particle-based detection system, please visit the Institute of Bio-Sensing Technology website.

Bio-Sensing Technology Series: Microbial Fuel Cells 

Posted by Denise Hope | 1 comment
04Apr2012
Ioannis IeropoulosWelcome to the first of our Bio-Sensing Technology series, looking at Microbial Fuel Cells. This technology is led by Dr Ioannis Ieropoulos, a Senior Research Fellow in the Bristol Robotics Laboratory (BRL) and we ask him to tell us a bit more about his research.

So what is Microbial Fuel Cell technology?
Microbial fuel cells employ live bacteria to produce electricity by breaking down organic matter. The technology commonly consists of two halfcells – an anode and a cathode – that are separated by an ion selective membrane. Commonly bacteria are in the anode side, and chemicals or oxygen are in the cathode side, which complete the reactions (ie close the circuit) to generate power.

What are the applications of MFC?
This technology looks at utilising a wide range of organic compounds that are considered to be waste, for creating energy. The MFC technology may have potential in a domestic or village setting for the micro-generation of energy.

Applications primarily include Autonomous Robotics, stand-alone Remote Sensing, Waste and Wastewater treatment and utilisation. Further developments may include the powering of other specialized off-the-grid equipment such as portable IT systems, Environmental Monitoring tools and Medical Support apparatus.

Can you give us some examples of projects where MFC has been used?
The MFCs technology has already been used to generate power for autonomous robots, such as EcoBot-I (powered by sugar), EcoBot-II (powered by flies and rotten fruit diet) and EcoBot- III (powered by wastewater).

What are you working on at the moment?
The latest project, ‘Urine-tricity: electricity from urine',  aims to produce electricity from urine through stacks of small-scale microbial fuel cells whilst at the same time cleaning the urine stream and getting rid of pathogens that may be found in urine. The project, if successful, has the potential to achieve energy recovery from urine and other waste streams, and produce a cleaner effluent, which is dischargeable into the environment without expensive wastewater treatment in developing world countries.  



Lead researcher: Dr Ioannis Ieropoulos

For more information about Microbial fuel cells, please visit the Bristol Robotics Laboratory website.