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A 3D-printed portable device for field deployment of living biosensors

Movizzo, Paul G., Ruder, Warren C., Long, Zhicheng
MethodsX 2019 v.6 pp. 1331-1335
biomarkers, biosafety, biosensors, genetically modified organisms, portable equipment, risk
Living biosensors typically use genetically modified organisms (GMOs) to detect infectious biomarkers in clinical samples. GMOs are prohibited to be released into the environment by many laws, which limits the application of living biosensors outside laboratory settings. Here, we reported a robust 3D-printed device that eliminates the risk of exposure of GMOs to potential users and the environment. The device is designed to snugly attach to a common culture tube and consists of two components, a housing and a plunger. The housing contains a stress-focusing cutout and a reagent well to hold the living biosensor. While the plunger is designed to form a two-stage press-fit seal with the housing. The first seal allows to safely transfer the living biosensor from a biosafety lab to the field, and the second seal prevents the leakage of GMOs from the culture tube during the test and before safe disposal. Additionally, a lever-actuated machine was also designed and 3D-printed to assist users operating the device.