PRESSURE BASED MICROFLUIDICS TO INCREASE THE
SPEED, AUTOMATION, AND PORTABILITY OF ELISA FOR MICROCYSTIN DETECTION
Hummingbird Nano, Inc. is pleased to announce the awarding of a $150,000 SBIR Phase I grant to explore novel pressure based ELISA microfluidic system development for microcystin detection. Led by Principal Investigator Dr. Eleanor Derbyshire the project will utilize Hummingbird Nano’s unique manufacturing approach and capabilities with features that cannot be easily achieved commercially by other manufacturing methods.
Harmful algal blooms can devastate ecological and economic systems; federal disasters are declared, public drinking water systems shut down, fisheries closed, and mass wildlife die offs and acute toxicity/death for humans occur. By the numbers, the negative financial impact of HABs globally is $10B and, as temperatures climb, conditions are increasingly favorable for HAB events. HABs can be controlled with damage mitigated, and early detection of a bloom is a critical step in avoiding disaster.
The most prevalent toxin associated with HABs is the hepatotoxin microcystin. Screening for microcystins uses ELISA to assess the total number of microcystins in a sample. ELISA tests typically take 2-4 hours and are limited in sensitivity. The long test time for ELISA is dominated by the binding time of antigens and antibodies to analytes. Hummingbird Nano, Inc., proposes an innovative microfluidic pressure-based methodology to significantly reduce this binding time while increasing sensitivity. The proposal expands on initial promising work to fully investigate the innovation in terms of time and sensitivity. The ultimate goal of the work is to have an automated system that uses pressure feedback loops to indicate when binding capacity is saturated, and vastly increase the speed and sensitivity of the test.