Nanotechnology Now







Heifer International

Wikipedia Affiliate Button


DHgate

Home > Press > Turkeys inspire smartphone-capable early warning system for toxins

Bio-inspired sensors are made from bacteriophages that mimic the collagen fibers in turkey skin. When exposed to target chemicals, the collagen-like bundles expand or contract, generating different colors. The researchers also created a mobile app to be used with camera phones to help analyze the sensor's color bands.

Credit: Courtesy of the Seung-Wuk Lee Laboratory
Bio-inspired sensors are made from bacteriophages that mimic the collagen fibers in turkey skin. When exposed to target chemicals, the collagen-like bundles expand or contract, generating different colors. The researchers also created a mobile app to be used with camera phones to help analyze the sensor's color bands.

Credit: Courtesy of the Seung-Wuk Lee Laboratory

Abstract:
Some may think of turkeys as good for just lunch meat and holiday meals. But bioengineers at the University of California, Berkeley, saw inspiration in the big birds for a new type of biosensor that changes color when exposed to chemical vapors. This feature makes the sensors valuable detectors of toxins or airborne pathogens.

Turkeys inspire smartphone-capable early warning system for toxins

Berkeley, CA | Posted on January 21st, 2014

Turkey skin, it turns out, can shift from red to blue to white, thanks to bundles of collagen that are interspersed with a dense array of blood vessels. It is this color-shifting characteristic that gives turkeys the name "seven-faced birds" in Korean and Japanese.

The researchers say that spacing between the collagen fibers changes when the blood vessels swell or contract, depending upon whether the bird is excited or angry. The amount of swelling changes the way light waves are scattered and, in turn, alters the colors we see on the bird's head.

Seung-Wuk Lee, UC Berkeley associate professor of bioengineering, led a research team in mimicking this color-changing ability to create biosensors that can detect volatile chemicals.

"In our lab, we study how light is generated and changes in nature, and then we use what we learn to engineer novel devices," said Lee, who is also a faculty scientist at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.

The researchers created a mobile app, called the iColour Analyser, to show that a smartphone photo of the sensor's color bands could be used to help identify toxins of interest. They described their experiments in a study to be published Tuesday, Jan. 21, in the journal Nature Communications.

Sensors that give off color readings are easier to use and read than conventional biosensors. However, the major ones in development elsewhere can only detect a limited range of chemicals and, according to the researchers, they can be very difficult to manufacture.

"Our system is convenient, and it is cheap to make," said Lee. "We also showed that this technology can be adapted so that smartphones can help analyze the color fingerprint of the target chemical. In the future, we could potentially use this same technology to create a breath test to detect cancer and other diseases."

In copying this turkey-skin design, Lee and his team employed a technique they pioneered to mimic nanostructures like collagen fibers. The researchers found a way to get M13 bacteriophages, benign viruses with a shape that closely resembles collagen fibers, to self-assemble into patterns that could be easily fine-tuned.

The researchers found that, like collagen fibers, these phage-bundled nanostructures expanded and contracted, resulting in color changes. The exact mechanism behind the shrinking or expanding phage bundles is still unclear, but it's possible that the small amount of water in the phage is reacting to the chemical vapors, the researchers said.

The turkey-inspired biosensors were exposed to a range of volatile organic compounds, including hexane, isopropyl alcohol and methanol, as well as vapor of the explosive chemical TNT, at concentrations of 300 parts per billion. The researchers found that the viruses swelled rapidly, resulting in specific color patterns that served as "fingerprints" to distinguish the different chemicals tested.

The researchers showed that the biosensor's specificity to a target chemical could be increased by genetically engineering the DNA in the M13 bacteriophage to bind with sites specific to TNT. The biosensor was then exposed to two additional chemicals, DNT and MNT, which have similar molecular structures to TNT. The engineered biosensor successfully distinguished TNT from the other chemicals with distinct color bands.

The biosensors were also able to signal changes in relative humidity, ranging from 20 percent to 90 percent, becoming redder with moister air and bluer with drier air.

The study lead author is Jin-Woo Oh, a former postdoctoral researcher in Lee's lab and now an assistant professor in the Department of Nanomaterial Engineering at Pusan National University in South Korea.

The National Science Foundation, the Defense Acquisition Program Administration and Agency for Defense Development in South Korea, Korea's Ministry of Education, Science and Technology, and Samsung helped support this work.

####

For more information, please click here

Contacts:
Sarah Yang

510-643-7741

Copyright © University of California, Berkeley

If you have a comment, please Contact us.

Issuers of news releases, not 7th Wave, Inc. or Nanotechnology Now, are solely responsible for the accuracy of the content.

Bookmark:
Delicious Digg Newsvine Google Yahoo Reddit Magnoliacom Furl Facebook

Related News Press

News and information

International research partnership tricks the light fantastic March 2nd, 2015

UC research partnership explores how to best harness solar power March 2nd, 2015

Researchers turn unzipped nanotubes into possible alternative for platinum: Aerogel catalyst shows promise for fuel cells March 2nd, 2015

Important step towards quantum computing: Metals at atomic scale March 2nd, 2015

Govt.-Legislation/Regulation/Funding/Policy

New nanodevice defeats drug resistance: Tiny particles embedded in gel can turn off drug-resistance genes, then release cancer drugs March 2nd, 2015

Forbidden quantum leaps possible with high-res spectroscopy March 2nd, 2015

Researchers turn unzipped nanotubes into possible alternative for platinum: Aerogel catalyst shows promise for fuel cells March 2nd, 2015

First detailed microscopy evidence of bacteria at the lower size limit of life: Berkeley Lab research provides comprehensive description of ultra-small bacteria February 28th, 2015

Nanomedicine

New nanodevice defeats drug resistance: Tiny particles embedded in gel can turn off drug-resistance genes, then release cancer drugs March 2nd, 2015

New Hopes for Treatment of Intestine Cancer by Edible Nanodrug March 2nd, 2015

Graphene Shows Promise In Eradication Of Stem Cancer Cells March 1st, 2015

Novel Method to Determine Optical Purity of Drug Components March 1st, 2015

Sensors

Penn researchers develop new technique for making molybdenum disulfide: Extra control over monolayer material with advantages over graphene February 19th, 2015

Researchers build atomically thin gas and chemical sensors: Sensors made of molybdenum disulfide are small, thin and have a high level of selectivity when detecting gases and chemicals February 19th, 2015

Production of Biosensor in Iran to Detect Oxalic Acid February 18th, 2015

Improved fire detection with new ultra-sensitive, ultraviolet light sensor February 17th, 2015

Discoveries

Colon + septic tank = unique, at times stinky, study: Researchers use lab-scale human colon and septic tank to study impact of copper nanoparticles on the environment March 2nd, 2015

New nanodevice defeats drug resistance: Tiny particles embedded in gel can turn off drug-resistance genes, then release cancer drugs March 2nd, 2015

Breakthrough in OLED technology March 2nd, 2015

Important step towards quantum computing: Metals at atomic scale March 2nd, 2015

Announcements

International research partnership tricks the light fantastic March 2nd, 2015

UC research partnership explores how to best harness solar power March 2nd, 2015

Researchers turn unzipped nanotubes into possible alternative for platinum: Aerogel catalyst shows promise for fuel cells March 2nd, 2015

Important step towards quantum computing: Metals at atomic scale March 2nd, 2015

Interviews/Book Reviews/Essays/Reports/Podcasts/Journals/White papers

Glass coating improves battery performance: To improve lithium-sulfur batteries, researchers added glass cage-like coating and graphene oxide March 2nd, 2015

New nanodevice defeats drug resistance: Tiny particles embedded in gel can turn off drug-resistance genes, then release cancer drugs March 2nd, 2015

Breakthrough in OLED technology March 2nd, 2015

Researchers turn unzipped nanotubes into possible alternative for platinum: Aerogel catalyst shows promise for fuel cells March 2nd, 2015

Military

Researchers turn unzipped nanotubes into possible alternative for platinum: Aerogel catalyst shows promise for fuel cells March 2nd, 2015

Simulating superconducting materials with ultracold atoms: Rice physicists build superconductor analog, observe antiferromagnetic order February 23rd, 2015

Penn researchers develop new technique for making molybdenum disulfide: Extra control over monolayer material with advantages over graphene February 19th, 2015

New nanogel for drug delivery: Self-healing gel can be injected into the body and act as a long-term drug depot February 19th, 2015

Food/Agriculture/Supplements

Simple, Cost-Efficient Method Used to Determine Toxicants Growing in Pistachio February 26th, 2015

Iranian Scientists Find Solution to Measure Species Existing in Liquids February 6th, 2015

Best practice guide for the safe handling and use of nanoparticles in packaging industries now available: A novel best practice guide is now available to support the safe handling and use of nanoparticles in packaging industries February 2nd, 2015

Everything You Need To Know About Nanopesticides January 30th, 2015

Research partnerships

Breakthrough in OLED technology March 2nd, 2015

UC research partnership explores how to best harness solar power March 2nd, 2015

Researchers turn unzipped nanotubes into possible alternative for platinum: Aerogel catalyst shows promise for fuel cells March 2nd, 2015

Imec Demonstrates Compact Wavelength-Division Multiplexing CMOS Silicon Photonics Transceiver March 1st, 2015

NanoNews-Digest
The latest news from around the world, FREE




  Premium Products
NanoNews-Custom
Only the news you want to read!
 Learn More
NanoTech-Transfer
University Technology Transfer & Patents
 Learn More
NanoStrategies
Full-service, expert consulting
 Learn More










ASP
Nanotechnology Now Featured Books




NNN

The Hunger Project







© Copyright 1999-2015 7th Wave, Inc. All Rights Reserved PRIVACY POLICY :: CONTACT US :: STATS :: SITE MAP :: ADVERTISE