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NanoSensors, Inc. (OTC Bulletin Board: NNSR), a nanotechnology development company that develops instruments and sensors to detect biological, explosive and chemical agents was highlighted in an article from The Produce News ( http://www.producenews.com ). The Produce News has been a national newsweekly of the fresh produce industry since 1897. This article originally was published in the Feb. 5, 2007 issue of The Produce News and is reprinted with permission.
Article from The Produce News
Silicon Valley Companies Take Aim at Detecting Deadly Pathogens
SANTA CLARA, CA -- 2/5/2007 -- A couple of Silicon Valley-based
high-tech companies are developing diagnostic tools for the purpose of
detecting deadly pathogens in food supplies.
NanoSensors Inc., a nanotechnology development company based here, is
licensing nanoporous silicon-based biosensor technology through Michigan
State University and a university in South Korea to develop food-safety
In addition to silicon-based filters, NanoSensors is also using carbon
nanotube technology to detect and isolate biologically based pathogens.
Carbon nanotubes are cylindrical carbon molecules with properties that make
them potentially useful in extremely small-scale electronic and mechanical
NanoSensors is working on a reusable testing kit. The disposable sensor
is about the size of a quarter and has a reader for measuring data embedded
in it. The sensor transmits back to an external data acquisition unit that
can be used by people at all levels of the food distribution chain.
Customers will be able to buy and use disposable sensors on each specific
lot of produce that is tested.
NanoSensors licensed its biosensor technology in August. Its sensor can
detect E. coli but cannot tell what strain it is. Depending on the host
molecule, the sensor could be used to detect salmonella.
The sensor detects the DNA of the host molecule on porous silicone. The
DNA of the molecule is attached to that surface; the sensor is
functionalized when DNA is placed on the surface. The base of the sensor is
disposable. Joshua Moser, vice president and chief operating officer of
NanoSensors, said that the company "has made a tremendous amount of
progress in a short amount of time."
Mr. Moser said that nano- or molecular-scaled devices operate at the
same scale as the biological agents they target, which allows the
technology to both detect and isolate targeted pathogens. Nanoprobes and
filters can address viruses and bacteria at a level of specificity that is
hard to get at with larger technology, and also can provide faster and more
accurate results than existing technology, he said.
Ted Wong, chief executive officer of NanoSensors, said that the company
could determine the concentration of E. coli with its sensor, which is a
"first alert" of E. coli.
"We're trying to provide an economically viable solution," Dr. Wong
said. "The efficiency is very high."
The sensor's testing results can be exported to a PDA or cell phone.
The company soon will start third-party testing and anticipates testing its
product at a water treatment plant for a few months.
"Sensors could be the first use of carbon nanotubes," Dr. Wong said.
NanoSensors anticipates jumping up to the use of carbon nanotubes, which is
the "next generation," he said.
NanoSensors has collected salmonella data in more than three months of
Dr. Wong said that his dream is to have a sensor "that covers an array
of different things."
In late December, NanoSensors announced that it had engaged a
third-party contractor to manufacture units of a test version of its
biosensor product that will be used for third-party field testing. The
product is based on the NanoSensors nanoporous silicon-based biosensor
technology to detect E. coli.
Although NanoSensors has not entered into testing agreements with third
parties, it is seeking to enroll between six and 10 users in its product-
Another Silicon Valley company -- Cepheid, based in Sunnyvale, CA --
can take credit for playing a critical role in containing the outbreak of
E. coli 0157:H7 detected in fresh spinach.
New Mexico's health department used a molecular diagnostic tool
manufactured by Cepheid to isolate the E. coli. Researchers performed rapid
molecular tests that pointed to a bag of spinach that sickened a New Mexico
woman, a major breakthrough in the case.
David Persing, Cepheid's chief medical and technology officer, said
that about half of all state public health labs in the nation are using the
company's SmartCycler instrument. Unlike traditional culture tests that
take days to generate a result, molecular diagnostics quickly and
accurately identify microorganisms by identifying specific segments of DNA.
Another advantage to molecular detection is that it can detect DNA
whether bacteria are alive or dead.
Mr. Persing said that the opportunity exists to catch outbreaks such as
the E. coli outbreak in spinach earlier in the process, and that the goal
must be to detect and intercept pathogens before they enter the general
food supply. "The evolution of technology is to small sophisticated
analysis," Mr. Persing said, adding that cartridges for testing bacteria
are small, easy to work with and don't require a specialty lab.
He said that he favors installing Cepheid's SmartCycler instrument in
fresh produce-processing plants. The price runs about $30 to $50 per
cartridge. Mr. Persing anticipates similar deployment of sensor technology
to include agricultural operations and food distribution centers.
About The Produce News
The Produce News is a national news weekly that serves the fresh fruit
and vegetable industry including retailers, wholesalers/brokers,
shippers/growers and truckers.
About NanoSensors, Inc.
NanoSensors, Inc. was incorporated in December, 2003 and is a
nanotechnology development company based in Santa Clara, California. The
Company's principal business is the development, manufacturing and
marketing of sensors and instruments to detect explosive (X), chemical (C)
and biological (B) agents ("XCB"), along with the management of
intellectual property derived there from that will enable NanoSensors to
create nanoscale devices.
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