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AWSensors technology to develop a DNA biosensor for detection of honey adulteration

AWSensors technology will be used in a new research project funded by Spanish Government (Retos Investigación 2017-2019) to develop a DNA biosensor for detection of honey adulteration. Honey companies are interested in this biosensor because new and cheaper analytical methods are required to meet the quality controls set by European Comission.

One of the priority challenges of the European Union (EU) is “Quality and Security in Food”. Food adulteration is a topic of interest in several fields: health care, legal (since it is a fraud) and economic (since it generates unfair competition). In this context, honey is one of the most commonly adulterated food, which generates a great deal of economical problems in apiarian production and comercialization sector. This situation affects directly to Spain, since is the most important EU country in honey production and comercialization. Nowadays, honey adulteration is made, mainly, by using vegetal siropes, resulting in an adulterated product similar in taste to natural honey, but fraudulent, and including substances that consumer unknowingly ingests. Therefore, the European Comission is promoting the development of new analytical methods which complement or replace the already existing ones.

 

The main drawbacks of the already existing techniques are:

  1. There is no a unique technique which allows to identify, in a reliable way, an adulteration; therefore, in order to be conclusive, several analytical determinations are needed;
  2. They are only available in central laboratories, which directly affects to the companies quality control process, slowing down it and rising its costs;
  3. They requiere high qualified staff;
  4. They requiere long time analysis periods (hours)
  5. They have not enough resolution to detect the target substances sometimes.

 

 

DNA biosensors are becoming very promising in the field of security and quality food control, since they are easy handling, reliable, fast and low cost. The proposed technology is based on the use of acoustic sensors coated with functionalized nanostructures which allow to greatly increase the Limit of Detection (LOD) of the DNA of the substances used in honey adulteration.

 

In this scenario, techniques based on DNA biosensors are becoming very promising in the field of security and quality food control, since they are easy handling, reliable, fast (analysis periods: minutes) and low cost. In this research project, the use of a novel technology in the field of food control adulteration is proposed. This technology is based on the use of acoustic sensors coated with functionalized nanostructures which allow to greatly increase the Limit of Detection (LOD) of the DNA of the plant substances used in honey adulteration. The use of those mentioned nanostructures generates a mechanic-acoustic amplification effect and, moreover, allow to separate the sensor transduction mechanism from the biochemical recognition process (DNA hybridization). The expected result is an increase of more than one order of magnitude in the sensor response when comparing it with the response of a sensor without the nanostructure coating.

The research proposed in this project deals with new challenges:

  1. The use of a new recognition method based on DNA detection;
  2. The use of nanostructures which provide a mechanic-acoustic amplification and a separation of the transduction mechanism from the biochemical recognition process;
  3. The use of a new technique for sample dispensing based on an in-batch method.

 

To deal with these challenges, a multidisciplinary research team of experts in micro and nano electronics, advanced materials and biotechonology is required to guarantee the succes of the project. AWSensors will collaborate with this team of scientists from the Polytechnic University of Valencia, in Spain, (Bioengineering Research and Innovation Center and University Institute of Food Engineering for Development) and University Pierre et Marie Curie, in France (Laboratoire interfaces et systémes electroquimiques). Other honey companies such as Apisol, Honeygreen, Cooperativa Apícola de España, Granalbe and Primo Mendoza are interested in the results of the project.

Bio-Logic AWS-A20 at Biosensing Conference

AWSensors at the 5th International Conference on Biosensing technology


AWSensors technology will be at the  5th International Conference on Bio-sensing technology to be held at Riva del Garda, Italy, from May 7th to 10th. We are pleased to invite you to see our biosensing platforms at the booth of Bio-Logic, our OEM distributor.

AWS A20-F20 platform is the most flexible and sensitive QCM-D system in the market. It is able to work with low and high frequency QCM sensors and SAW sensors. It also ensures high sensitivity because of a novel method of characterization that keeps noise at very low level in spite of working at high frequencies by using AWS-HFF sensors (100-150 MHz). AWSensors also provides QCM and SAW sensors and a wide range of cells and accessories to customize experiments and tests according to specific conditions required by scientists.

Therefore, AWS A20 system provides you with big competitive advantages:

–       High flexibility, capable to work with any acoustic wave sensor; modular system capable to be upgraded with more channels after purchase (up to 4)

–       High sensitivity

–       Customization, with accessories to make measurements in specific conditions

–       Price convenience

Do not miss the opportunity to check the advantages of our technology at the booth of Bio-Logic and meet our Application Scientist, Mrs. María García.

Why using AWSensors technology in Lithium-Ion Battery Research?

AWSensors and the second largest university in Israel, Bar-Ilan University, signed an agreement to collaborate on lithium-ion battery and energy storage research. AWSensors will work with the Group of Electrochemistry, the most important of Israel. It is led by Professor Doron Aurbach, awarded in 2005 by the Electrochemical Society (ECS) for his work on batteries. He will also receive the 2017 Alan J. Bard Award in Electrochemical Science.  The Award is considered one of the greatest honors in electrochemistry.

We talked with Prof. Mikhael Levi, who will lead the Collaboration Agreement,  about why he is interested in using AWSensors technology. Here you are a brief summary about what he told us.

– Could you explain briefly your interest in battery and energy storage research?

The interest stems from the attempt to a deeper understand the mechanism of ions intercalation into battery electrodes. A more simple case relates to electrode behaviors in aqueous solutions because of negligible effect of the parasitic reactions, absence of surface-electrolyte interfaces (SEI), higher conductivity of solutions compared to that in aprotic solvents, etc. A more complicated and practical case relates to Li-battery electrodes in non-aqueous (aprotic) solutions when extremely high potentials of cathodes and extremely low potentials of anodes are reached. At these extreme potentials a strong competition between the intercalation reactions and parasitic processes of decomposition of electrolyte solutions occurs. On the one hand, this makes interpretation of QCM data non-trivial requiring a rigorous control over keeping external conditions constant (temperature, pressure, non-slipping interfaces, bubble gas evolution, etc). On the other hand, QCM-based research can provide reliable information on tracking the mechanical properties of surface-electrolyte interfaces (SEI) which major role is to prevent or at least to reduce the effect of the parasitic reactions. By QCM-based research we understand it beyond the gravimetric method of operation and analysis implying easy access to not only resonant frequency but also to the related motional resistance or other similar damping characteristics such as resonance peak width or dissipation factor.

– Why do you feel that the agreement with AWSensors will benefit your research interest?

I have mentioned that the extreme operating potentials of anodes and cathodes cause numerous difficulties in QCM applications.  We are currently trying to overcome may be the most severe difficulty in adjusting QCM technique for battery electrodes characterization by matching QCM measurement conditions to the conditions used in practical Li-ion batteries. In practical batteries the ratio of active electrode mass to mass of solution is large ensuring suppressed contribution of parasitic reactions, diminishing of self-discharge rate, increasing capacity retention and ensuring good Faradaic efficiency.

QCM measurements relate to flooded cell with the reverse ratio of electrode and electrolyte mass: the mass of the electrode coating used in QCM is limited to low-mass-approximation. On the other hand the amount of electrolyte in contact with the crystal is high. In principle the amount of electrolyte is limited by the penetration depth (much less then micron).However it is difficult to build the electrochemical cell with such a small separation.

Attempts to increase the loading mass are linked to recording precise shape of the resonance curves on different harmonics to check vertical and spatial heterogeneity of thick coatings, pre-requisite for deciding whether harmonic analysis can be applied to intercalation processes in thick electrodes. We are sure viscoelastic effects are present in thick electrodes already in air and the role of viscoelastic effect increases after contact with liquids.

 

Are you investigating on batteries?

Are you interested in learning more about AWSensors technology?

 

 

Please, CONTACT US for information about the coming workshop on lithium-ion battery research with AWSensors instruments.

new analysis software

New analysis software

A new full-featured analysis software is already available for AWS-A20 platforms. User will be able to make QCM experiments with or without electrochemistry in a very simple, fast and intuitive way because AWS Suite software has been specifically designed to ensure an optimal user experience.

It allows effortless management of multiple, different devices, including AWS A20 system, AWS F20 fluidics module and Bio-Logic potentiostats/galvanostats, from a single interface view. Furthermore, the software allows remote access to devices by IP address within the network.

Better data management

Good data management is crucial to ensure quality research. Therefore, new features have been implemented as a solution to match this need. AWS Suite organizes all the data in a simple file system based in the creation and management of projects. The software guides the user in creating and configuring QCM and eQCM experiments, as well as in the application of modeling tools for data analysis.

User-friendly displays and modelling tool

For a better user experience, improved graphic displays containing more graphic tools, automatic annotations and simple computations are featured, in addition to an electronic notebook available in every experiment to keep records of additional information within the experiment file.

Easy access to experiment configuration, data and visualization

AWS Suite allows the user to revisit experiment configuration, data and visualization in a straightforward manner, as well as to import the configuration of previous experiments to quickly reproduce them.

AWSensors developers team has made a huge effort to understand the workflow and needs of users so that the use of the new program is really intuitive, simple and fast.

Workshop on AWSensors technology hold at Northwestern University

Free workshop on AWSensors technology to be held at Northwestern University, US

Are you interested in how acoustic wave sensors could be useful for your research? Join the workshop on AWSensors technology to be held next June 14th at Cook Hall RM 2058, Northwestern University, 2220 Campus Drive, Evanston, IL, 60208, United States.

Prof. Antonio Arnau, founder of AWSensors, and Dr. Jose Vicente García, Product Engineering Manager, will give a session on classical quartz crystal sensors and other highly sensitive technologies such as AWS high fundamental frequency sensors. Furthermore, some biosensing and electrochemistry experiments will be conducted, so that the attendees will have the opportunity to see how the AWSensors equipment works.

We are very grateful for being hosted by Prof. Shull and his research group from the Department of Materials Science and Engineering in Northwestern University. Prof. Shull will introduce the workshop. He is one of the most prestigious researchers on the properties of polymer surfaces and interfaces, with a research emphasis on the adhesion of “soft materials”, including traditional pressure-sensitive adhesives and highly specialized polymeric gels commonly used in biomedical applications. His group is currently using AWSensors platform and they are publishing results. Our EQCM probe module was especially designed for Prof. Shull group and now it is being sold succesfully to other labs.

We would like to appreciate the assistance given by Kazi Sadman, researcher at Prof. Shull group, to organize this workshop. Please, if you are interested in attending, do not hesitate to contact us directly or by registering here.

We will be more than happy to meet you at Northwestern University!

Cook Hall Northwester University

Bio Convention San Francisco

Meet us at Bio Convention in San Francisco, US

AWSensors will join the Bio Convention next week in San Francisco, US. You may meet us at Spanish Pavilion in booth 605 or in the one-on-one partnering in the Bio Business Forum.

Prof. Antonio Arnau will attend the convention to explain how AWS sensing technology works and its applications in health or agri-food research. Furthermore he will introduce the european project LiqBiopSens and how our sensing technology will be used to developed a liquid biopsy platform for early detection of colorectal cancer.

The Bio International Convention (BIO) attracts over 15,000 biotechnology leaders. We will spend one week of intensive networking to discover new opportunities and promising partnerships with some biotech, pharma and industry leaders and several academic institutions that are attending the most important event in the biotech industry worldwide.. This event covers a wide spectrum of life science and application areas including nanotechnology, drug discovery, genomics, cell therapy or biofuels.

70% out of R+D in bio field is conducted in US where there are more than 2500 companies in this sector.

We are proud to attend the event along with other Spanish biotech companies, a group of about 70 companies together in the Spanish pavilion as you can look up at the SpainBio catalogue.

If you would like to meet with Prof. Arnau in San Francisco from june 6 to 9, do not hesitate to contact us!

AWSensors at Biosensors 2016

AWSensors technology at Biosensors 2016

Visit the booth of our distributor, Bio-Logic, to see our new products

Just one week left for Biosensors 2016! AWSensors technology will be at the most prestigious congress on biosensing research to be held at Gothenburg, Sweden from May 25th to 26th. We are pleased to invite you to see our platforms at the booth of Bio-Logic, our OEM distributor. There, you will see how our platform works.

Our equipment is the only quartz crystal microbalance that allows:

–           Detection and characterization of interface phenomena with high sensitivity (up to 0.05 ng/cm2)

–           Use of different kind of sensors simultaneously.

Our technology is based on two fundamental principles:

  1. Use of high fundamental frequency acoustic resonators (100-150 MHz) that provides a large increase in sensitivity.
  2. Use of a novel method for characterizing these sensors which keeps noise at very low level.

As a result, an improvement in the limit of detection (LOD) of 2 orders of magnitude compared to traditional acoustic sensors is obtained.

Do not miss the opportunity to check the advantages of our new technology and meet AWSensors founder, Prof. Antonio Arnau. He is coordinator of the International Network of Piezoelectric Transducers Research and Applications (PETRA) and has wide expertise on bioelectronics and acoustic wave biosensors.

Dr. Arnau will attend the Post Congress Symposium in Cancer Diagnostics to be held on Saturday 28 May inmediately following Biosensors 2016. AWSensors is currently coordinating LiqBiopSens European Project to develop a new liquid biopsy platform for early detection of colorectal cancer.

Bio-Logic, new distributor of our electrochemistry instruments

AWSensors is proud to announce the agreement with the French multinational Bio-Logic Science Instruments. We are now the original equipment manufacturer (OEM) for the Acoustic Sensing System distributed by this company, a real-time and sensitive system to monitor surface-bound interactions, such as adsorption and desorption processes, characterization of molecular interactions, protein conformational changes, etc.

As a result of this agreement, Bio-logic has exclusive rights to sell AWSensors platforms for electrochemistry applications because our platforms can be coupled to a Bio-Logic potentiostat/galvanostat system to perform e-QCM measurements for the most demanding experimental requirements.

AWSensors will keep selling directly its instruments for bio applications.

Bio-Logic company has a wide expertise in scientific instruments for high-performance applications such as:

  •  Electrochemistry
  • Spectroscopy and photosynthesis
  • Batteries and Power Test
  • Test material
  • Scanning electrochemical systems
  • Electrophysiology

Bio-Logic is headquartered in France, in the town of Claix, and it has offices in the US and India and a large and growing network of distributors worldwide. Therefore, this agreement allows AWSensors to offer local distributors and local technical support to customers.

We appreciate the confidence that Bio-logic has on AWSensors technology and we are convinced that this agreement will be extremely beneficial for everyone interested in cutting-edge acoustic sensing technology.

Unión Europea - FEDER

 

DNA

H2020 Project LiqBiopSens: A new liquid biopsy platform for early detection of colorrectal cancer

We are proud to announce that the European Comission awarded a grant of a total value of 2’7M euros to our project LIQBIOPSENS for early detection of colorectal cancer by carrying out liquid biopsy. The grant was awarded within Horizon2020 and specifically in the call entitled “ICT-28-2015: Cross cutting ICT Key Enabling Technologies”.

 

AWSensors will coordinate this H2020 project during the next 3 years (2016-2018). The overall aim of this project is the further development and validation in real settings of a novel diagnostic platform for the early and fast detection of circulating tumor DNA (ctDNA) and their KRAS and BRAF mutations associated to colorectal cancer through blood samples.

Liquid Biopsy platform LiqBiopSens features

The main features of LiqBiopSens are:

  1. Reliability (detection rates vary from 95-100 %)
  2. Low-Cost
  3. Sensitivity (in the zM range)
  4. Multiplexing capabilities (analysis of 27 KRAS and BRAF mutations simultaneously)
  5. Short analysis time (30-60 min.)
  6. User-friendly interface
  7. Flexibility

LIQBIOPSENS platform is based on the integration of two novel complementary technologies:

  • DGL© technology property of DestiNA Genomics Ltd, capable of delivering faster, more error-free detection of DNA and their mutations than current enzyme-based detection systems, making ‘false positive’ results a thing of the past.
  • A novel high resolution acoustic wave microsensor technology property of AWSensors, that allows an accurate, inexpensive, label-free, direct and real-time transduction method to quantitatively evaluate the results of the application of the mentioned DGL© technique.

However, solution proposed by the LIQBIOPSENS project relies on the multidisciplinary integration of different key enabled technologies. Accordingly, LiqBiopSens will be accomplished by AWSensors and Destina Genomics in collaboration with the following partners:

Liquid Biopsy platform LiqBiopSens concept

The operating concept of our project is described in the following representative scheme:

Early detection of colorrectal cancer by liquid biopsy

ctDNA amplicons produced in chamber (1) are denatured and transferred to the sensors surface via   microfluidics (2) where hybridization with DGL probes takes place; mutation‐discrimination is carried out during the injection (3) of novel probes which click selectively on the target DNA (4) while acoustic detection exploits functionalized nanoparticles (5).

Colorectal cancer, the second most common cause of cancer death

The most frequently occurring forms of cancer in the EU are colorectal, breast, prostate and lung cancers. In men, lung cancer is the most frequent cause of cancer death, while in women, it is breast cancer. In both men and women, colorectal cancer is the second most common cause of cancer death.

The “gold standard” for identifying the type and extent of a cancer is a tissue biopsy, in which a small sample of tissue is taken from the suspected tumour and histologically examined. While this procedure can provide important information about the patient disease, tissue biopsy can be painful, represents a single snap-shot in time, is subjected to significant selection bias and if the tumour tested was first detected by palpation or imaging, it may already be so large that the disease is well advanced. Furthermore, when the tumour tissue is removed or it is inaccessible, these genotyping techniques are impossible. Therefore, cancer remains a ghost disease when primary tumours are removed through surgery, meaning that there are not tools to assess the efficiency of treatments or prevent metastasis.

Liquid Biopsy, a revolution in the fight against cancer

It has long been known that solid tumors release DNA in the blood and the load of circulating tumor DNA (ctDNA) has been correlated to staging and prognosis. However, only recent advances in the sensitivity and accuracy of DNA analysis have allowed for genotyping of somatic changes found in tumors by interrogating ctDNA. This technique is known as ‘Liquid Biopsy’ and it is based on the analysis of a biomarker that can be easily isolated from many body fluids (blood, saliva, urine, ascites, pleural effusion, etc.).

 

Successful implementations of liquid biopsy techniques to track tumor dynamics in real time and for the early detection, such as LIQBIOPSENS, are going to revolutionise how clinicians fight against cancer.

AWS probe module for immersion

A new sensor module for immersion

Northwestern University, typically ranked among the top 15 of all U.S. universities in US, has become our customer. We are delighted to begin our expansion into the U.S. market with our relationship with Northwestern.

Our specific collaboration is with Prof. Kenneth Shull, from the Department of Materials Science and Engineering. He is one of the most prestigious researchers on the properties of polymer surfaces and interfaces, with a research emphasis on the adhesion of “soft materials”, including traditional pressure-sensitive adhesives and highly specialized polymeric gels commonly used in biomedical applications.

 Because of this collaboration, we have just launched a new sensor module specially designed for immersion.

AWS sensor module for immersion

Currently, researchers are using hand-made devices but they usually cause several inconvenients:

 

  • Lack of chemical resistance.
  • Weakness.
  • High volume of sample is wasted
  • Sealing is not hermetical.

The new AWS EQCM probe module solves all these issues and offers other advantages

Cover of AWS probe sensor module

  • You can immerse the sensor module even in very strong or hot solutions (up to 150 degrees) because the parts in contact with the liquid are made of PEEK and PTFE.
  • You can visualize the sensor during the experiment because the chamber is made of see-through material.
  • You do not have to worry about sealing. A PTFE cover seals the glass vial and includes holes for the reference and counter electrodes and holes for PTFE tubbing for controlling atmosphere or bubling inside the chamber.
  • You can easily replace and clean all the parts of the probe module.

 

The AWS EQCM Probe module is designed to operate with standard wrapped QCM sensors of 14 mm or 1” diameter with contacts, as well as AWS-HFF sensors.

 

Do you feel this new sensor module could be useful for your research?

 

Visit our Custom Solutions and tell us your needs

We would be pleased to help you