Free Newsletters - Space - Defense - Environment - Energy - Solar - Nuclear
..
. Earth Science News .




WATER WORLD
Scientists pack lab into pill using idea inspired by breath-freshening strips
by Wade Hemsworth McMaster News
Hamilton, Canada (SPX) Apr 30, 2014


The technology is expected to have significant public health applications for testing water in remote areas and developing countries that lack testing infrastructure.

Inspiration can come in many forms, but this one truly was a breath of fresh air. A group of McMaster researchers has solved the problem of cumbersome, expensive and painfully slow water-testing by turning the process upside-down. Instead of shipping water to the lab, they have created a way to take the lab to the water, putting potentially life-saving technology into the hands of everyday people.

The team has reduced the sophisticated chemistry required for testing water safety to a simple pill, by adapting technology found in a dissolving breath strip. Want to know if a well is contaminated? Drop a pill in a vial of water and shake vigorously.

If the colour changes, there's the answer. The development has the potential to dramatically boost access to quick and affordable testing around the world. "We got the inspiration from the supermarket," says Carlos Filipe, a professor of chemical engineering who worked on the project.

The idea occurred to team member Sana Jahanshahi-Anbuhi, a PhD student in Chemical Engineering who came across the breath strips while shopping and realized the same material used in the dissolving strips could have broader applications.

The technology is expected to have significant public health applications for testing water in remote areas and developing countries that lack testing infrastructure, for example.

The researchers have now created a way to store precisely measured amounts of enzymes and other active agents in pills made from the same naturally occurring substance used in breath strips, putting lab-quality science within instant and easy reach of people who need quick answers to questions such as whether their water is safe.

"This is regular chemistry that we know works but is now in pill form," says John Brennan, director of McMaster's Biointerfaces Institute, where the work took place. "The user can be anybody in a village somewhere who can take a pill out of a bottle and drop it in water."

The material, called pullulan, forms a solid when dry, and protects sensitive agents from oxygen and temperature changes that can render them useless within hours. Until now, such agents have had to be stored at extremely cold temperatures and shipped in vials packed in huge chunks of dry ice, at great cost and inconvenience. Using them has been awkward, bulky and often wasteful.

The new method, described in an article published online in the prestigious European chemistry journal Angewandte Chemie, also holds promise for other applications, such as packaging that could change colour if food is spoiled.

"Can you modify packaging so it has a sensor to tell you if your chicken has gone off?" Brennan asks. "The reason that doesn't exist today is because there's no way you can keep these agents stable enough."

The new method allows the same materials to be stored virtually anywhere for months inside tiny pills that dissolve readily in liquid. The pills are inexpensive to produce and anyone can add them to well water, for an instant reading of pesticides, e. coli or metals, for example.

The new technology can easily be scaled up and find its way to market quickly, says Brennan. Pullulan is already approved for wide commercial use and is mass produced, which can speed the journey to market.

The McMaster team includes researchers from the departments of Chemical Engineering, Chemistry and Chemical Biology and Biochemistry and Biomedical Sciences. The project was funded by the Sentinel Bioactive Paper Network and the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada.

.


Related Links
McMaster University
Water News - Science, Technology and Politics






Comment on this article via your Facebook, Yahoo, AOL, Hotmail login.

Share this article via these popular social media networks
del.icio.usdel.icio.us DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle




Memory Foam Mattress Review
Newsletters :: SpaceDaily :: SpaceWar :: TerraDaily :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News





WATER WORLD
New Research Focuses on Streamwater Chemistry, Landscape Variation
Missoula MT (SPX) Apr 29, 2014
Winsor Lowe, interim director of the University of Montana's Wildlife Biology Program, co-wrote a research paper published April 21 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences on how streamwater chemistry varies across a headwater stream network. Lowe and co-authors from Virginia Tech, the U.S. Geological Survey, the University of Washington, the Cary Institute of Ecosystem Stud ... read more


WATER WORLD
Nepal counts cost of damaging Everest debacle

Italy cruise ship removal project halted: media

Captain says warnings over Korean ferry ignored

How costly are natural hazards?

WATER WORLD
Engineering Breakthrough Will Allow Cancer Researchers to Create Live Tumors With a 3D Printer

Newly Identified 'Universal' Property of Metamagnets May Lead to Everyday Uses

Researchers Develop Harder Ceramic for Armor Windows

A Glassy Look for Manganites

WATER WORLD
Oregon tuna found with Fukushima radiation still safe to eat

Octillions of microbes in the seas: Ocean microbes show incredible genetic diversity

Probing the Depths of the Methane World

Scientists pack lab into pill using idea inspired by breath-freshening strips

WATER WORLD
Krypton-dating technique allows researchers to accurately date ancient Antarctic ice

Cougars' diverse diet helped them survive the Pleistocene mass extinction

Ancient sea-levels give new clues on ice ages

Iceberg bigger than Guam drifting from Antarctica

WATER WORLD
Brazilian agricultural policy could cut global greenhouse gas emissions

Saving Crops and People with Bug Sensors

Study finds accelerated soil carbon loss, increasing the rate of climate change

How Brazilian cattle ranching policies can reduce deforestation

WATER WORLD
Odds of storm waters overflowing Manhattan seawall up 20-fold

No Yellowstone mega-eruption coming, experts say

Death toll in Afghan floods tops 100: officials

Fresh tremor rattles Papua New Guinea after 7.5 quake

WATER WORLD
EU CAR force operational, at Bangui airport: sources

Eric Newman - Walking Into South Africa

South Africa's defence minister admits military meltdown

South Sudan on brink of collapse as war rages

WATER WORLD
Genomic diversity and admixture differs for Stone-Age Scandinavian foragers and farmers

British designer Heatherwick seeks cities with 'human scale'

Prehistoric caribou hunting site discovered under Lake Huron

It's a bubble, but not as we know it




The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2014 - Space Media Network. All websites are published in Australia and are solely subject to Australian law and governed by Fair Use principals for news reporting and research purposes. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA news reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement, agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement All images and articles appearing on Space Media Network have been edited or digitally altered in some way. Any requests to remove copyright material will be acted upon in a timely and appropriate manner. Any attempt to extort money from Space Media Network will be ignored and reported to Australian Law Enforcement Agencies as a potential case of financial fraud involving the use of a telephonic carriage device or postal service.