SBIR Phase I: Dip-stick tests for detection of heavy metals in water

Period of Performance: 01/01/2011 - 12/31/2011


Phase 1 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Dzymetech, Inc.
2109 S. Oak St. Suite 102
Villa Grove, IL 61820
Principal Investigator


This Small Business Innovation Research Phase I project focuses on commercializing dip-stick tests for detection of heavy metals (lead, uranium, copper, mercury) in water, where the appearance of a red line on the test strip will indicate the presence of a contaminant. Heavy metal contamination in water poses a serious health concern and their easy detection is essential for fast and effective removal. Currently established detection methods use sophisticated, expensive instrumentation and skilled operators. There exists the need for spot test kits for low cost, real time and on-site detection for wide range of contaminants. ANDalyze proposes to make highly sensitive and specific dip-stick tests using recent advances in biotechnology and nanotechnology. A special class of metal-specific DNA sequences, called DNAzymes will be functionalized with gold nanoparticles and dried on lateral flow devices (test strips) to make dip-stick sensors for heavy metals, similar in format to the home pregnancy test kits. The broader impact of this research is that these dip-stick tests are an ideal solution for easy, on-site water quality testing in homes, schools, hospitals and industries, instead of sending water samples to analytical labs where it can often take more than 2 weeks to get back results. This provides a significant advantage to a user who can start any remediation process sooner upon detection of contaminants, thereby reducing their adverse impacts. These tests are particularly valuable in developing countries where access to instrumentation or money for sophisticated analytical tests may be limited.