ALBANY, N.Y., July 6 (UPI) -- U.S. researchers say a new automatic and portable detector can signal the presence of anthrax in a sample of suspected material in 15 minutes.
Scientists at the University at Albany and Cornell University in New York said the new technology amplifies any anthrax DNA present in the sample and can reveal the presence of just 40 microscopic cells of the deadly bacteria.
Writing in the International Journal of Biomedical Nanoscience and Nanotechnology this month, the researchers said the detector uses nanofabricated fluidic cartridges to carry out detection of anthrax.
The device is a so-called lab-on-a-chip device that has inputs for the sample and reagents and can carry out DNA purification and identification automatically.
The system is said to work without manual intervention other than loading a sample droplet into the detector.
"The average time required for DNA purification during these experiments was approximately 15 minutes, and when combined with real-time PCR (polymerase chain reaction) analysis, this resulted in an average time to detection of 60 minutes," the researchers said.
"Due to its small size and low power requirements, this system can be further developed as a truly portable, hand-held device," they said.