Blu-ray discs are great for watching movies, but the technology within them and the players that spin them has been harnessed for pathogen detection by a team of Spanish scientists. The Blu-ray discs had a layer of microarrays applied to their surface where antibody reactions and signal amplification takes place. The discs were then placed into a Blu-ray player, the laser of which was used to measure the optical properties of each node within the microarrays that correlated to a successful reaction or not.
The team tested the system for detection of Cronobacter sakazakii, a GI parasite, and Salmonella typhimurium. They report in journal Biosensors and Bioelectronics that the system provides “similar sensitivity as real-time quantitative PCR.” Because each node can run a unique test, the system provides the ability to screen large numbers of people rapidly and with essentially already existing technology.
From the study abstract:
BDs preserve the optical properties according to Blu-ray specifications, ensuring maximum accuracy and sensitivity of the drive during disc scanning. Detection limits of 0.4 μg/L for microcystin LR and 100 and 101 cfu/mL for Salmonella typhimurium and Cronobacter sakazakii respectively, were achieved, improving considerably the DVD performances and reaching similar sensitivity as real-time quantitative PCR. Blu-ray technology adapted to the analysis of high density arrays highlights the enormous capabilities (high sensitivity, speed-scanning, optical resolution, portability) for point-of-care settings, diagnostics, and high-throughput screening applications.
Study in Biosensors and Bioelectronics: High density MicroArrays on Blu-ray discs for massive screening…
(hat tip: Gizmodo)