Tit Bits


Dip chip technology tests toxicity on the go




A biosensor device called the “Dip Chip”


Biosensors have long been used to safeguard against exposure to toxic chemicals. Scientists have combined biology and engineering to produce a biosensor device called the “Dip Chip,” which detects toxicity quickly and accurately, generating low false positive and false negative readings.


The device, which looks like a dip stick, immobilizes these specially-produced microbes next to the sensing electrodes. Once the microbes come into contact with a questionable substance they produce a chemical signal that is converted to an electrical current by a device that can interpret the signals, producing a binary “toxic” or “not toxic” diagnosis. In the future, scientists hopes that smaller versions of the Dip Chips might be plugged into existing mobile electronic devices, such as cell phones or tablets, to give the user a toxicity reading. This would make it an economically feasible and easy-to-use technology for people such as campers or for military purposes.


(Credit: Image courtesy of American Friends of Tel Aviv University)


Source: www.sciencedaily.com






Scientists look to microbes to unlock earth’s deep secrets




JOIDES Resolution crew members prepare a CORK for installation beneath the seafloor.



Of all the habitable parts of our planet, one ecosystem still remains largely unexplored and unknown to science: the igneous ocean crust. This rocky realm of hard volcanic lava exists beneath ocean sediments that lie at the bottom of much of the world’s oceans. An international team of scientists sailing onboard the research vessel JOIDES Resolution recently returned from installing observatories beneath the seafloor in “North Pond” - a remote area in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. They hope that data collected from these sub seafloor observatories (known as CORKs, or Circulation Obviation Retrofit Kits), along with studies of rock and sediment samples collected during the expedition, will help to shed light on the role tiny subsea floor microbes play in shaping Earth's oceans and crust.


(Credit: IODP/USIO)


Source: www.sciencedaily.com








ENVIS CENTRE Newsletter Vol.10, Issue 2, Apr - Jun 2012
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