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Arizona State Students Develop Low-Cost Biosensor to Detect Contaminated Drinking Water
In the developing world, disease caused by poor sanitation is the second largest cause of death in children under five years old, and according to the World Health Organization, 1.5 million lives are lost each year to diarrhea and contaminated drinking water. Now a group of undergraduate students from Arizona State University participating in the 2012 International Genetically Engineered Machine (iGEM) competition have developed an inexpensive biosensor that can detect major pathogens.
Nine undergraduates from Arizona State University have made major strides in creating a low-cost biosensor capable of identifying dangerous waterborne pathogens. Their efforts adressed the iGEM challenge to create a device for use in the field that could be made from standard, interchangeable parts. The team currently has two designs in development. The first recognizes pathogens by creating complementary of DNA strands to match those of dangerous organisms. The second introduces proteins that turn samples blue if they come into contact with the membranes of harmful bacteria.
Later this month, the team will introduce their final product at the iGEM regional competitions held at Standford University. If chosen, they will move to the global level in November at MIT.
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