Bacteria and parasites are dangerous for our everyday lives. Depending on how harmful they are, out organism can suffer anything from the simplest stomachache to organ failure. What’s more, we have no way of detecting them! Or do we?
Scientists from Spain have decided to create an inexpensive screening method that is able to detect bacteria such as Salmonella. From now on, the Blu-ray player under your TV will do more than play your favorite movie. It will test your food and water in order to check if it is safe to consume or not.
In order to do this, the scientists equipped their Blu-ray players with a custom data board that is able to measure the reflectivity of the disc. Afterwards, they attached pieces of DNA or protein to the discs. These were called probes and the scientists located their position. They also added a solution containing the DNA of the pathogen, or its toxin to the probe-side of the disc. When the excess was washed off, bits of the DNA or toxin remained stuck to the probes.
The final step was putting the disc in the Blu-ray player. The device used its laser to scan the disk and create a high-resolution image of the samples that were captured by the probes. With this new device, scientists were able to detect three bacteria and toxins: Salmonella typhimuium, the intestinal parasite Cronobacter sadazakii and microcystins, a biotoxin that is able to infect drinking water.
After checking their solution, scientists reported that this method is just as accurate as conventional lab equipment. The only difference between them is the price. Using a Blu-ray player is much cheaper than using normal lab equipment. This method could be used in remote areas to test water supplies or even monitor the environment.
Do you think a Blu-ray player could act as an accurate tester?