Scientists developed a new device that can report contamination levels of water and can perform logical operations same as the ones performed by computers
Researchers at Northwestern University developed an affordable, user-friendly, handheld device that can detect concentration levels of water contamination in just a drop of water letting the users know whether the water is drinkable or no within minutes. According to the research published in the journal Nature Chemical Biology on February 17, 2022, the new system can also perform logical operations same as that of performed by computers.
In this research, the scientists used a mechanism from fluoride levels testing system that was developed in 2019 by the researchers form the same university. This system employed cell-free synthetic biology, in which the molecular machinery of cells such as RNA, DNA and proteins are removed and redesigned for performing new tasks. This system was able to detect 17 contaminants in a single water drop. The scientists used the parts of bacteria that allowed them to taste things in their water and utilized this mechanism for testing contaminants in water, where the sensor detects presence of any one of the 17 contaminants’ presence in the water. Now the team made some changes to this device and reportedly added a molecular brain logic circuit to this system, which is originally dubbed as ROSALIND. The new altered systems consists the original molecular taste buds for detecting contamination.
However, all the freeze-dried pellets were put in the series of eight test tubes and reprogrammed to have a different type of sensitivity towards contaminants. When the test tube to the left of the array exhibited green glow, the sample had low concentration. This set up was so far succeeded to indicate zinc levels, levels of an antibiotic and an industrial metabolite in field tests and took only minutes for delivering the results.