Canadian Packaging

Biosensor Paper Detects Toxins


October 23, 2009
by Canadian Packaging Staff

In conjunction with its three-day annual scientific conference, Sentinel Bioactive Paper Network recently publicly demonstrated to media and industry partners its Canadian developed bioactive paper sensors using printing technology developed by one of their industrial partners FUJIFILM Dimatix. The team tested common grocery items such as apples, lettuce and milk with the in-lab bioactive paper sensors to detect miniscule quantities of pesticides that could be present in food and beverage samples.

The sensor demonstration showcased how the simple, portable and cost-effective bioactive paper sensors are produced and showed the color-changing sensors. The paper sensors tested today did not detect that any acetylcholinesterase pesticides were present with the grocery items purchased. The sensor has a shelf-life of at least one month and can be stored at room temperature. Future applications for the biosensors include point-of-care medical diagnostics, food and water-borne pathogen detection and bioterrorism agents.

The in-lab biosensor cost is less than Cdn $0.25, and can detect a range of biohazards that affect animals and humans worldwide. "Because banned organophosphates are actively used in the developing world for spraying agricultural crops, Sentinel Bioactive Paper Network has sought to prove that its sensors have the potential to provide rapid testing for organophosphates in the field.

The journal paper supporting the demonstration appears in Analytical Chemistry (articles edited and published online ahead of print) HERE.

Additionally at the conference, Sentinel’s first early-stage spin-off company, PatraTec Inc., launched and presented its business plan to conference attendees. PatraTec Inc. (www.patratec.ca) is working towards simplified and reliable water testing tools to detect pathogens in water. Their first products are geared towards greenhouses and private water-wells in North America. PatraTec plans to launch their first product in August 2010.

Sentinel Bioactive Paper Network represents 11 Canadian universities, industry and government partners and was formed in 2005 with $8.5-million in funding over five years from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada. Another $2.5-million has been contributed by industrial partners and the Ontario Centres of Excellence. McMaster University in Hamilton, Ont. hosts Sentinel’s administrative center.






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