One of the first projects being undertaken by the Biointerfaces Institute is the development of test strips for detection of environmental analytes (e.g. pesticides, heavy metals and E. coli). Prototype strips have already been developed with good bioactivity and long-term stability. Portable bio-sensing papers are expected to be useful in monitoring environmental and food-based toxins, as well as in remote settings in less industrialized countries where simple bioassays are essential for the first stages of detecting disease.
This work is protected by a pending patent, and has been published in leading scientific journals, describing its application for agriculture and food safety. One of the major differences between these test strips and more common immunodiagnostic strips is the use of enzyme assays on paper. This format has been used for assaying enzyme inhibitors, substrates and cofactors, with extensive studies in both colorimetric and fluorometric enzyme assays.