Description:
Background
While having incredible ability for signal amplification per molecule allowing even for single molecule detection, redox measurements are restricted by concentration limits. This can pose problems in applications such as bacterial detection; concentrations in septic blood or contaminated food can be as low as 1 cell/mL (1 zeptomolar).
Each Pseudomonas aeruginosa cell produces and excretes approximately 10,000 pyocyanin molecules every hour. Pyocyanin is an inherently redox‑active virulence factor that is uniquely produced by Pseudomonas aeruginosa, and can therefore serve as a biomarker for this specific infection. 
Previous work demonstrates successful rapid electrochemical detection of Pseudomonas aeruginosa infections in wound samples, but with limited sensitivity (71%) as compared to traditional 16S rRNA detection techniques. The false negative results were likely caused by pyocyanin concentrations in the samples being below the sensor detection limit.
Currently available rapid detection techniques include biochemical ELISA kits and LC-MS techniques, but these require costly specialized equipment or significant human operator time.
 
Technology Overview
This novel technology utilize low-cost, carbon electrochemical sensors coupled with forward osmosis membranes to controllably concentrate samples and detect lower concentrations of bacteria, theoretically providing up to a hundred-fold improvement in the limit of detection simply by removing water from the sample . These results indicate the feasibility of coupling electrochemistry with forward osmosis for detecting ultra-low levels of electroactive molecules in complex samples, such as bacterial virulence factors in bodily fluids. 
This approach does not require any sample manipulation and uses simple, handheld, battery-powered equipment. 
 
Benefits
- New application for forward osmosis to improve the limit of detection in redox-based electrochemical sensing. 
- By detecting virulence factors instead of bacterial cells, can increase sensitivity by another 4 orders of magnitude. 
- This approach does not require any sample manipulation and uses simple, handheld, battery-powered equipment. 
 
Applications
- Infectious diseases
- Sensors
- Biomedical Devices
- Diagnostics
 
Opportunity
- Partnering
- Research Collaboration
- License
Patent Information:
Category(s):
Diagnostics
-Sensors tech
For Information, Contact:
Mark Saulich
Associate Director of Commercialization
Northeastern University
m.saulich@northeastern.edu
Inventors:
Martin Kimani
Hunter Sismaet
Edgar Goluch
Keywords: