Nanoparticle-Enhanced Immunoassay for Monitoring Organic PollutantsEPA Contract Number: EPD04055
Title: Nanoparticle-Enhanced Immunoassay for Monitoring Organic Pollutants
Investigators: Bastiaans, Glenn J.
Small Business: Intelligent Optical Systems Inc.
EPA Contact: Richards, April
Project Period: April 1, 2004 through June 30, 2005
Project Amount: $224,996
RFA: Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) - Phase II (2004) Recipients Lists
Research Category: Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) , Nanotechnology , SBIR - Nanotechnology
Intelligent Optical Systems, Inc. (IOS) has demonstrated the feasibility of achieving highly effective assays for organic pollutants on a continuous basis by adapting known principles of immunoassays in an innovative way. This achievement will make it possible to develop field-deployable monitoring systems to guard against the presence and effects of organic pollutants and other harmful substances in water. Immunoassays allow the highly selective detection of a wide variety of substances of organic and biological origin using a very sensitive approach. IOS is developing a technology to conduct these selective and sensitive assays in a continuous or periodic manner.
Phase I demonstrated the feasibility of detecting polyaromatic hydrocarbons down to concentrations of 10 parts per billion or less using this new technique. Improved limits of detection may be expected through refinement of spectroscopic labeling techniques. The goal of this Phase II research project is to fabricate and field test prototype monitors for contaminants with industrial partners. The protection of water used for human consumption or other human exposures is a primary application for the planned contaminant monitor because the safety of water can be improved markedly by the more frequent monitoring of specific common contaminants, especially if the threat of high concentrations is known to be present. IOS monitors will be very useful at water treatment facilities, within water distribution systems, and at food processing plants to guard against contaminants and biohazards.
Water monitoring for the presence of contaminants also has an important role in pollution prevention. Significant threats to the environment are presented by known sources of contamination that ultimately may migrate to water sources used by humans, animals, and agricultural crops. The potential migration of underground contaminants through barriers can be minimized or eliminated by periodic or continuous monitoring. In applications where contaminated sites are being remediated, monitoring on a periodic or continuous basis can be used to assess the effectiveness of the process and to assure that the remediation process does not unintentionally spread contaminants further into the environment.