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Project ID:2006OH35B

Title: Development of a Novel Hydrogel-Based Sensor for the Detection of Biological Contaminants

Project Type: Research

Start Date: 03/01/2006

End Date: 02/28/2007

Congressional District: 9th District: Lucas County, OH

Focus Categories: Surface Water, Water Quality, Non Point Pollution

Keywords: surface waters; biological contaminants; detection

Principal Investigator: Gruden, Cyndee (University of Toledo)

Federal Funds: $20,402

Non-Federal Matching Funds: $40,819

Abstract: The goal of this study is the synthesis and performance evaluation of a novel selective hydrogel-based sensor for the detection of biomolecules in surface waters. Biological contaminants pose risks to public health and demand increasingly stringent monitoring; advancing methods to ensure their rapid and accurate detection must continue to be a research priority. We propose to polymerize aptamers into an acrylamide hydrogel to develop a selective sensor. The selective hydrogel produced will permit size and shape selectivity as well as binding specificity. Hydrogel properties will minimize non-specific binding through modulated shrinking and swelling to remove competitive molecules. It is widely recognized that rapid and accurate methods are needed for adequate detection of biological contaminants, even at low concentrations. Further, because of the complexity of environmental samples, a robust sensor must be developed that enables separation of the target from potential interferences. Current technology allows for specific detection of biomolecules. Existing methods, however, do not function adequately in environmental samples and often require amplification to achieve the required sensitivity. Thus far, these limitations have hampered ongoing detection efforts aimed at mitigation of biological contamination.

With that in mind, our goal is to develop a sensor that will allow for specific and sensitive detection of biomolecules. The hydrogel-based sensor will be adaptable to a variety of biological targets via the selection of aptamers specific to a characteristic artifact (e.g., a protein or toxin). The proposed sensor will enable: 1) differentiation of closely related biomolecules; 2) rapid binding of the target biomolecule in a complex system; 3) temperature and/or light induced modulation of the hydrogel for separation from the matrix and expulsion of unbound analytes; 4) sensitive detection of the target biomolecule; 5) adaptability of the method to other target biomolecules.

This project will result in the development and performance evaluation of a novel sensor that advances detection strategies for biological contaminants supporting research, education, and public policy designed to protect health of humans and ecosystems.

Progress/Completion Report, PDF

U.S. Department of the Interior, U.S. Geological Survey
Maintained by: John Schefter
Last Updated: Thursday, January 03, 2008
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