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Handheld biohazard detection

E. coli bacteria

A spinout company formed around MSU nanotechnology promises to move speedy detection of deadly pathogens and toxins from the laboratory directly to the field.

Food contamination and other biohazards present a growing public health concern, but laboratory analysis consumes precious time. The company, nanoRETE, will develop and commercialize an inexpensive test for handheld biosensors to detect a broad range of threats such as E. coli, salmonella, anthrax, and tuberculosis.

A significant leap forward in detection and diagnostic technology, the test utilizes novel nanoparticles with magnetic, polymeric, and electrical properties developed by Evangelyn Alocilja, MSU professor of biosystems and agricultural engineering and chief scientific officer of nanoRETE.

“Our unique preparation, extraction, and detection protocol enables the entire process to be conducted in the field, without significant training,” says Alocilja. “Results are generated in about an hour from receipt of sample to final readout, quickly identifying contaminants so that proper and prompt actions can be taken.”

The mobile technology comes at only a fraction of the cost of the closest currently available competing technology, company officials say.

Learn more about the handheld biohazard detector.

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