Tuesday, September 27, 2005

E-nose to sniff out hospital superbugs

A sensor to sniff out infections before they spread. The unit is still too expensive for widespread use but probably not for long.
With the growing threat of worldwide pandemic the units would probably become required.
Not only for hospitals but also for schools, airports, shopping centers...

E-nose to sniff out hospital superbugs
From New Scientist Print Edition
Paul Marks

AN ELECTRONIC nose that sniffs out infections could help hospitals tackle outbreaks of the antibiotic-resistant superbug MRSA.

Culture tests routinely used to identify MRSA (methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus) take two or three days to complete.

...but now UK-based researchers have come up with a test using an electronic sniffer that could cut the time further, to just 15 minutes. Writing in the journal Sensors and Actuators B (vol 109, p 355), engineers at the University of Warwick and doctors at the Heart of England Hospital, Birmingham, say the electronic nose can recognise the unique cocktail of volatile organic compounds that S. aureus strains excrete.

E-noses analyse gas samples by passing the gas over an array of electrodes coated with different conducting polymers. Each electrode reacts to particular substances by changing its electrical resistance in a characteristic way.

Each e-nose is about the size of a pair of desktop PCs and costs about �60,000. The food industry uses similar machines to root out rotten ingredients.

New Scientist


Post a Comment

<< Home