Learn more about UC TechAlerts – Subscribe to categories and get notified of new UC technologies

Browse Category: Security and Defense > Food and Environment


[Search within category]

Ultra-Sensitive Polybrominated Diphenyl Ether (PBDE) Detector

Polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) are a common brominated flame retardant, which are commonly found in consumer products. Because they are not chemically bound to polymers, PBDEs are blended in during formation and have the ability to migrate from products into the environment.  Studies suggest that PBDEs pose potential health risks such as hormone disruptors, adverse neurobehavioral toxins and reproductive or developmental effects.  For this reason it is important to have the capability to sense the presence of PBDEs even in low concentrations.

Portable waterborne pathogen detector

The inventors at the University of California, Irvine, have developed an automated, easy-to-use digital PCR system that can be used at the time of sample collection, making it highly effective in microbial pathogen analysis in resource-limited settings and extreme conditions.

MyShake: Earth Quake Early Warning System Based on Smartphones

Earthquakes are unpredictable disasters. Earthquake early warning (EEW) systems have the potential to mitigate this unpredictability by providing seconds to minutes of warning. This warning could enable people to move to safe zones, and machinery (such as mass transit trains) to be slowed or shutdown. The several EEW systems operating around the world use conventional seismic and geodetic network infrastructure – that only exist in a few nations. However, the proliferation of smartphones – which contain accelerometers that could potentially detect earthquakes – offers an opportunity to create EEW systems without the need to build expensive infrastructure. To take advantage of this smartphone opportunity, researchers at the University of California, Berkeley have developed a technology to allow earthquake alerts to be issued based on detecting earthquakes underway using the sensors in smartphones. Called MyShake, this EEW system has been shown to record magnitude 5 earthquakes at distances of 10 km or less. MyShake incorporates an on-phone detection capability to distinguish earthquakes from every-day shakes. The UC Berkeley technology also collects earthquake data at a central site where a network detection algorithm confirms that an earthquake is underway as well as estimates the location and magnitude in real-time. This information can then be used to issue an alert of forthcoming ground shaking. Additionally, the seismic waveforms recorded by MyShake could be used to deliver rapid microseism maps, study impacts on buildings, and possibly image shallow earth structure and earthquake rupture kinematics.

An Ultra-Sensitive Method for Detecting Molecules

To-date, plasmon detection methods have been utilized in the life sciences, electrochemistry, chemical vapor detection, and food safety. While passive surface plasmon resonators have lead to high-sensitivity detection in real time without further contaminating the environment with labels. Unfortunately, because these systems are passively excited, they are intrinsically limited by a loss of metal, which leads to decreased sensitivity. Researchers at the University of California, Berkeley have developed a novel method to detect distinct molecules in air under normal conditions to achieve sub-parts per billion detection limits, the lowest limit reported. This device can be used detecting a wide array of molecules including explosives or bio molecular diagnostics utilizing the first instance of active plasmon sensor, free of metal losses and operating deep below the diffraction limit for visible light.  This novel detection method has been shown to have superior performance than monitoring the wavelength shift, which is widely used in passive surface plasmon sensors. 

Carbon Sequestration Using a Magnetic Treatment System

The technology is a technique for the capture and removal of carbonates in natural water sources.It features the use of an alternating electromagnetic field (AMF) to induce the formation of calcium carbonate or other carbonate compounds in suspension in water source. Additionally, carbonate compounds are removed using filtration device.

Mobile Molecular Diagnostics System

There is a growing interest in point-of-care testing (POCT) where testing is done at or near the site of patient care, since POCT has a short therapeutic turnaround time, decreased process steps where errors can occur and only a small sample volume is required to perform a test.    UC Berkeley researchers have developed a mobile molecular diagnostics system that leverages efficient and dependable blood sampling, automated sample preparation, rapid optical detection of multi-analyte nucleic acids and proteins, and user-friendly systems integration with wireless communication.  The system includes a hand-held automated device with an adaptive sample control module, an optical signal transduction module, and an interface to a smartphone making this a reliable and field-applicable system for point-of-care and on-demand diagnostics. 

Human Butyrylcholinesterase and Acetylcholinesterase Based Catalytic Bioscavengers of Organophosphates

Exposure to organophosphates (OP) from both pesticides and nerve agents leads to inhibition of acetylcholinesterase (AChE), resulting in a build-up of acetylcholine in the body, and potentially death. The only OP stoichiometric bioscavenger in use today is butyrylcholinesterase (hBChE). Human butylcholinesterase (hBChE) specifically and efficiently captures offending OP molecules in the circulation of exposed individuals, sequestering the OP as an inactive conjugate in the plasma.

A Rapid Method To Measure Cyanide In Biological Samples In The Field

Cyanide is a highly toxic and rapidly acting poison that is infamous due to its use in murders, suicides, wars and attempted genocide.In the present day, cyanide may be responsible for up to 10,000 deaths annually in the United States due to smoke inhalation.Cyanide may also be used as a terrorist weapon. Prior methods to measure cyanide in the blood have involved acidifying the blood after lysis of red blood cells.However, this method is time consuming (takes at least a few hours) and tedious, and thus, inadequate for rapid detection of cyanide toxicity in field or hospital settings.Field or laboratory devices capable of rapidly measuring cyanide levels in blood or body fluids are not currently available, however such field or laboratory devices would be highly useful. Researchers at the University of California, Irvine have developed a method to rapidly measure cyanide in biological samples, which can be carried out in field settings.This method is based on measuring cyanide based on spectral changes that occur when cyanide binds to the reagent.Advantages of this method are its ease of use, stability, and applicability across a wide range of cyanide concentrations and may be used with ease in the field or on laboratory devices.

Rapid Detection of Explosives

Brief description not available

Biosensor for Nerve Agents and Pesticides

Brief description not available

  • Go to Page: