Stratophase (Romsey, England) recently wrapped its involvement in the Portable Integrated Battlespace Biological Detection Technology (PIBBDT) project, which involved a consortium of commercial, academic and military specialists in collector technology, biodetection and microfluidics. The project, led by manufacturer Biral and funded by the UK Ministry of Defense, involved building two fully functioning portable prototype systems for detecting biohazards in an atmospheric environment, which were tested in an exposure chamber using model-agents to simulate the relevant biohazards.
The work demonstrated the feasibility of using the complete system to collect biological factors from the atmosphere, concentrate them in a liquid sample, and then detect pre-defined hazardous materials within the sample using Stratophase’s optical microchip detector. The microchip was also tested separately in laboratories at Dstl’s bioagent exposure facility with real targets, including several well-known bio-warfare factors, such as B. anthracis (the causative agent of anthrax) and Ricin toxin. This microchip employs the company's optical technology in combination with immunoassay receptor chemistry to detect biological agents with a high degree of specificity and sensitivity, forming an essential part of the prototype system.
Stratophase's optical microchip technology detects changes in the refractive index of a liquid passing over its surface. When used as a biodetector, the chip is coated with specific antibodies that bind with high specificity and affinity to biological targets. When a given toxin, bacteria or virus is present in the sample, it binds and triggers a positive detection.