One of the most important discoveries in the last decade is that DNA/RNA are not only materials for genetic information storage and transfer, but also catalysts for a variety of biological reactions, and thus called catalytic DNA/RNA, (deoxy)ribozymes, or DNA/RNAzymes. Because metal ions play essential roles in the structure and function of DNAzymes, the study and application of these new metalloenzymes has become a new frontier in bioinorganic chemistry. ANDalyze has created a product for detecting and quantifying heavy metals in water based on the recent discovery of these catalytic properties of DNA, coupled with established nanoparticle reporter technologies. This is how the technology works…

This technology is a universal platform that offers simple, fast, inexpensive and reliable detection of trace metals and other target chemicals. Measuring the metal ions is done through a reaction that occurs when a water sample containing a target metal ion contaminant (such as lead) is introduced to a sensor unit specific for that contaminant. This produces fluorescence (light) in direct correlation to the amount of metal ion present. The amount of light is measured by a fluorimeter. The fluorimeter reading relates directly to the amount of metal contaminant in the water solution. ANDalyze has designed and manufactured a modernized hand held fluorimeter which, in combination with the consumable DNA based sensors can quickly measure water contaminants at the sample site, greatly reducing the time and effort required by current technologies. This advantage creates a cost savings for organizations that are responsible for water testing of public drinking water supplies or industrial water operations. 

The core research on which the ANDalyze technology is based was developed in Dr. Yi Lu’s lab at the University of Illinois.

Figure 1. Schematics of (A) the In vitro selection process and (B) catalytic DNA activity in the presence of a metal ion leading to fluorescence signal.


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