Soon, consumers will have a portable device that allows you to detect GMOs and toxins in food


In the not-too-distant future, consumers using smart phones and other portable devices will be able to conduct their own tests on the safety of the products, the presence of toxins in the environment, GMOs, pesticides and more.

Every person belonging to any developed nation on Earth, regardless of where they live in rural or remote areas, in a big city or near the industrial zone, now has in his body about 700 contaminants, including pesticides, phthalates, benzene, parabens, xylenes, and many other carcinogenic and endocrine-disrupting chemicals.

Every day, the foundation of our health undermined the influence of the astronomical levels of toxins and chemical processes that control the terrorists food industry. Moreover, many of these toxins affect our fertility, and that subsequently at the future generations.

For people it is time to learn from what it is now made up their bodies, and this technology come to their aid. Researchers from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have developed a hardware and software, which as a biological sensor to detect toxins, proteins, bacteria, viruses and other particles using the phone's built-in camera of the phone and data processing.

Who heads a team of researchers Professor of electrical and computer sciences and bioengineering at Illinois Brian Cunningham suggested the interest of developers in the use of those opportunities, recognize and test chemicals in the home, outside the laboratory. "Smart phones have given a great impetus to the development of our society, offering a new way that we now use for information and communication. Furthermore, they have indeed powerful computing ability and possibility

visualization. These mobile platforms like phones allow you to observe a lot of non-invasive medical conditions (ie, no direct effect on the body, approx. methods, and much cheaper. They can detect microscopic particles such as pathogens, biomarkers of disease or their DNA, that is, to do what is currently done only large diagnostic laboratories, is expensive and requires large volumes of blood for analysis from the patient, "he said.

The same is said and biotechnologists Dr. Marek Banazhevski. He believes that modern biological research permits the use of a variety of laboratory instruments: from the little computer chip to the determinant of biological information within the DNA sequence. Thus bioinformativnye algorithms within the program to help identify transgenes promoters (catalysts), and other functional elements of DNA, making it possible to identify genetically modified foods in situ without transporting the laboratory.

Cunningham's team created a portable device consists of a series of optical components — lenses and filters used in a very large and very expensive laboratory instruments. For example, it uses a camera phone, combined with the optical components.

At the heart of the biosensor is a photonic crystal. The photonic crystal is used as a mirror, which reflects only a light wave length and the light wave spectrum of a different wavelength simply pass therethrough. When any biological object appears in front of photonic crystal, for example a protein, cells or pathogens DNA reflected color will be decomposed wavelength — from shorter to longer.

The whole test takes only a few minutes, the software guides the user step by step through the whole process of testing. Although the test device comprises optical components cost about $ 200, the analysis it performs exactly the same way as a large laboratory spectrophotometer (optical system used for the analysis of biological media by measuring the absorption of light of a certain wavelength and spectral composition, approx.) value of 50 thousand dollars. The portable device allows you to use them in the field of developing countries.

Published in the journal Lab on Chip article contains information that the research team has demonstrated detection of immune system protein, but a similar mechanism can be used to detect any type of biological molecule or cell type. Researchers are working to improve the process of biological testing for use in additional

equipment for mobile devices iPhone and Android. They hope next year to begin production of the devices, making them available to users.

In addition, the team is working on Cunningham biochuvstvitelnymi tests that could be performed in the field to identify toxins in the harvested corn and soybeans, as well as identify pathogens in food and water.

Scientists from the Research Scholars of Regensburg Institute of modular technology solids behalf Frauenhofa also developed an unusual solution to detect toxins — glove that detects the presence of toxins in the ambient air.

Protective gloves made of custom-made sensor materials and determine the presence of toxic substances by changing color. The researchers accommodate a material towards the test substance and, accordingly, adapted application (smartphone). Color changes from colorless gloves (no toxin) to blue (detection of toxins). Researchers provide other possible applications of the gloves in the food industry.

Other portable devices at a given time are under development, such as compact fluorescent chemical detectors, the principle of operation is based on the reactions catalyzed by the light-emitting enzymes. Control of chemical luminescent detectors provide devices that detect nucleic acids, biotin (vitamin H), which in turn is linked to the target DNA. These DNA detectors, the principle of which excludes the use of nuclear reactions to be able to chemically to easily identify a unique copy of the gene in transgenic plants by highlighting them in a convenient way to test for membership of GMOs.

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