Chemical contamination of estuarine and coastal areas is a highly complex issue with negative implications for the environment and human health (through the food chain) and related coastal industries such as fisheries. Early warning systems that can provide extreme sensitivity with exquisite selectivity are required. Current methods to determine water pollution are expensive, do not allow efficient real-time continuous measurements and lack of precision to detect several pollutants in a reproducible way.
The system presented is characterized in that different immunosensor micro-chambers are connected along a fluidic circuit though a plurality of injection paths allowing the sequential crossing of a functional liquid to the different single micro-chambers ensuring the same flux per channel. This system overcomes the main drawbacks of current schemes, namely the fact that different amounts of liquid enter the biosensor micro-chambers and the difficulty to supply the micro-chambers with a sufficiently precise liquid low flow rate.
The micro-chambers containing the respective biosensors are flooded cyclically, one at a time, with a pulsing liquid flow through sequentially temporized micro-valves. This liquid subdivision (multiplexing) is driven by a microprocessor firmware controlling the opening/closing of the micro-valves according to analytes and biosensors requirements.
In a full, complex device, suitable functional liquids can also be used to restore (regenerate) biosensor electrodes allowing the execution of autonomous, automated, temporized, on site subsequent measurements.
A functional 8-channels prototype has been successfully tested for in situ analysis of 7 pollutants in seawater (including antifoulants, endocrine disruptors, POPs, biotoxins, pesticides and antibiotics).
The Partners have broad experience in the development of biosensors and electrical readout systems. The centers are searching for companies that develop analytical devices interested in the implementation of this biosensor system for the detection of analytes in different fields, in especial determination of pollutants for environmental control, under a patent licence. Companies interested in this technology should carry out either by themselves or through research collaboration with these organizations some further work to reach the market for tailored applications.