Researchers from a national security laboratory in the U.S. have announced a technology which can detect the presence of thousands of microorganisms in just 24 hours. Hundreds of thousands of probes on a 1 x 3 inch glass slide can look for the entire range of known viruses and bacteria in a single test, which could prove invaluable in product safety testing, medical diagnosis and bioterrorism detection and prevention.
Research team Tom Slezak, Crystal Jaing, Shea Gardner, Kevin McLoughlin, James B Thissen of California’s Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL), a national security laboratory managed by Lawrence Livermore National Security, LLC for the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration, announced the findings last week.
Team leader Slezak came up with the idea for the Lawrence Livermore Microbial Detection Array (LLMDA) in 2003, but its development didn’t begin until late 2007. Any virus or bacteria that has been sequenced and included amongst the array’s 338,000 tiny probes, that are squeezed onto a semi-transparent glass slide measuring just one inch by three, can be detected in just 24 hours. Unlike current methods, which are limited to detecting pathogens from a range of about 50 or so, the LLDMA can detect numerous pathogens in a single test from the entire range of known viruses and bacteria.