A disposable, water-activated, self-heating, easy-to-use, device for nucleic acid amplification and fluorescent detection has been developed by researchers at the University of Pennsylvania.
The device, which is the work of Haim H. Bau and colleagues, is self-contained, does not require any special instruments to operate and integrates chemical, water-triggered, exothermic heating with temperature regulation using a phase-change material (PCM) and isothermal nucleic acid amplification. The water flows into the exothermic reactor by wicking through a porous paper.
The device was shown to amplify and detect E. coli DNA and could detect as few as 10 target molecules in a sample. Future applications of this technology could include pathogen detection in blood, saliva, urine, food and water, and in settings far removed from the laboratory.
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Lab Chip, 2011, Advance Article