IIT Madras, UK researchers develop sensor to detect antimicrobial resistance triggering pollutants, Health News, ET HealthWorld


IIT Madras on Tuesday announced the launch of a paper-based sensor for detection of antimicrobial pollutants, developed in collaboration with UK researchers. The sensor has been designed to assist in antimicrobial resistance surveillance in water bodies. The device can detect antibiotics such as ciprofloxacin, biocides such as triclosan and heavy metals such as chromium, copper and lead in water bodies and can be used for the purpose of environmental monitoring, food safety analysis and health care monitoring.

The research behind the developed sensor has been published in Nature Scientific Reports Journal and has been acknowledged as one of the top 100 in chemistry. The research was led by Prof. S. Pushpavanam, Institute Chair Professor, Department of Chemical Engineering, IIT Madras and Dr. T. Renganathan, Associate Professor, Department of Chemical Engineering, IIT Madras.

“We use a normal laser printer without any modification and it offers high resolution and accuracy. The hydrophobic barriers are compatible against organic solvents and high temperature. The developed laser printed paper-based microfluidic sensor is a viable option for large scale manufacturing and enables routine monitoring of pollutants in both developed and resource constrained regions,” said Dr. T. Renganathan.

The research was funded under ‘Indo UK Water Quality Research Programme’ by Department of Science and Technology (DST), Government of India, UK’s Natural Environment Research Council and Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC).

Prof. S. Pushpavanam, Institute Chair Professor, Department of Chemical Engineering, IIT Madras, said, “Paper-based sensor offers an affordable platform for various point-of-care applications as they support fluid flow based on a wicking action and governed by capillary forces. This eliminates the requirement of a pump-to-flow liquids. We have come up with a novel method for the fabrication of paper- based devices using a commercial laser printer.”

“The way it works is that we use a porous substrate such as paper, which enables us to use standard software to print required designs on it. Once printed, the printer ink is deposited on the surface of the paper. When heated this penetrates the thickness of the paper and forms a hydrophobic barrier through which liquid cannot pass. This allows us to direct the flow of liquid in preferential directions through the areas which are not printed and are hydrophilic,” added Prof. Pushpavanam.

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