Fluorescent Coated Filters for Detection of Biological Warfare Agent Microorganisms in Water

Period of Performance: 09/20/2004 - 09/19/2005


Phase 2 STTR

Recipient Firm

Analytical Biological Services, Inc.
Wilmington, DE 19801
Principal Investigator
Firm POC

Research Institution

SRI International
333 Ravenswood Avenue Mail stop: 306-17
Menlo Park, CA 94025
Institution POC


Reliable and sensitive detection of biowarfare agents (BWAs) such as Bacillus anthracis, Yersinia pestis, Francisella tularensis, ricin, botulinum toxin, etc. is an important challenge for both military operations and domestic anti-terrorism efforts. We are proposing to develop a biomimetic polymer coating, containing receptors for BWA targets, that becomes fluorescent when exposed to samples containing BWAs. The polymer will be coated onto filter membranes in a cartridge that can be read by a portable fluorescence detector. The proposed detection system will allow rapid and easy parallel testing of aqueous samples such as drinking supplies, water trapped aerosols or swab samples, for multiple BWAs. The coated filters will concentrate microorganisms and then become fluorescent as the targets bind to the receptors; with appropriate receptors the coatings can also detect toxins. In Phase I, we developed polymer/antibody coatings, detected Bacillus cereus spores as an anthrax simulant, performed appropriate control experiments, and designed the detection unit. In Phase II we will prepare coated filters for the detection of several biowarfare microorganisms and toxins with increased sensitivity, and build a prototype unit for detecting multiple targets in parallel.