Odorant sensor fabricated from living cells

Odorant sensor fabricated from living cells
Dr Misawa and Fig. 1: Xenopus oocyte trapped glass capillary electrodes in the fluidic device. Copyright : Toyohashi University of Technology

Dr. Misawa and colleagues at the Toyohashi University of Technology, Japan, focused on a chemical sensor composed of living cells from frog eggs and compact fluidic devices integrated with glass capillary electrodes.

Most chemical sensors are based on such as metal-oxide semiconductors and quartz crystals. However, it has proven difficult to develop chemical sensors equipped with good portability while demonstrating high sensitivity and selectivity.

To overcome this problem, Nobuo Misawa at the Electronics-Inspired Interdisciplinary Research Institute (EIIRIS) at Toyohashi Tech and colleagues at The University of Tokyo investigated the possibility of exploiting biological systems, which exhibit unique reactions to a range of chemicals at the molecular level.

Misawa and colleagues focused on a composed of living cells from frog eggs (Xenopus laevis oocytes), and compact fluidic devices integrated with glass capillary electrodes (Fig.1). The pairs of glass capillary electrodes were used to detect the oocytes' response to a particular chemical by the two-electrode voltage clamping method. The were genetically modified to express specific olfactory receptors.

The chemical sensitivity of the sensor was a few parts per billion in solution and it was possible to simultaneously distinguish different types of chemicals with only slight differences in . A semi-automatic method to install cells to the fluidic device was successfully established, enabling stable and reproducible odorant sensing.

Furthermore, the sensor worked for multiple-target chemicals and it was possible to integrate it with a robotic system (Movie 1).

The sensor developed by the researchers is compact and easy to replace in the system. These characteristics of the sensor would enable its applicable as part of an active sensing system for environmental monitoring, food administration, and health management.

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Robot with frog egg smell sensor (w/ Video)

More information: DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1004334107
Provided by Toyohashi University of Technology
Citation: Odorant sensor fabricated from living cells (2010, October 27) retrieved 21 February 2020 from https://phys.org/news/2010-10-odorant-sensor-fabricated-cells.html
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