MEMS Biosensor for In Situ Drinking Water Analysis

EPA Contract Number: 68D99052
Title: MEMS Biosensor for In Situ Drinking Water Analysis
Investigators: Salazar, Noe
Small Business: JCP Technologies Inc.
EPA Contact: Richards, April
Phase: I
Project Period: September 1, 1999 through March 1, 2000
Project Amount: $70,000
RFA: Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) - Phase I (1999) RFA Text |  Recipients Lists
Research Category: Ecological Indicators/Assessment/Restoration , SBIR - Monitoring , Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR)


The use of nucleic acid-based detection technologies provides the greatest potential for highly specific and sensitive detection of pathogens in drinking water systems. These technologies are driving the development of miniature, highly portable biosensors. The most promising approach to developing the ideal biosensor is microfabrication of identification systems that mimic diagnostic schemes used in microbiology laboratories. Although there is much activity in this area, most efforts suffer from the inability to properly marry microfabrication technology with the molecular biology required for sensitive and specific detection. To eliminate these shortcomings, JCP Technologies proposes to: (1) develop an assay that takes advantage of DNA probe specificity with increased sensitivity through coupled branch DNA ( DNA) signal amplification, and (2) design the microfluidic system necessary to perform the assay on a microfabricated silicon chip. Accomplishment of these objectives will allow development of microelectromechanical system-based biosensors for specific detection and identification of microbial pathogens in drinking water.

Microfabrication techniques, although initially expensive to develop, hold the promise for being cheap to manufacture in mass quantities. By using DNA probes for bacterial targets of commercial interest, low-cost, portable diagnostic equipment will be developed. Significant markets for such biosensors include food processing, veterinary, agricultural, environmental, industrial, and clinical markets. Other beneficiaries of these systems will be the EPA and other government inspection agencies, including the Food and Drug Administration.

Supplemental Keywords:

small business, SBIR, monitoring, engineering, EPA., RFA, Scientific Discipline, Water, Ecosystem Protection/Environmental Exposure & Risk, Microbiology, Monitoring/Modeling, Drinking Water, Engineering, Engineering, Chemistry, & Physics, biosensing, pathogens, monitoring, assays, bacteria, detection, pathogenic microbes, exposure and effects, bacteria monitoring, detect, in situ sensor, nucleic acid-based detection technology, exposure, analyzer, biosensing system, treatment, microbial risk management, measurement, cost-effective sensors, biosensor, drinking water contaminants

Progress and Final Reports:

  • Final Report
  • SBIR Phase II:

    MEMS Biosensor for In Situ Drinking Water Analysis