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Ingestible sensor could help diagnose stomach disease: Study

IANS  |  New York 

An ingestible sensor equipped with genetically engineered bacteria developed by researchers including one of Indian-origin, can aid in diagnosing in the or other gastrointestinal problems.

This "bacteria-on-a-chip" combines sensors made from living cells with that convert the bacterial response into a that can be read by a

"The focus of this work is on system design and integration to combine the power of bacterial sensing with ultra low-power circuits to realise important sensing applications," said Anantha Chandrakasan, of

"By combining engineered biological sensors together with low-power wireless electronics, we can detect biological signals in the body and in near real-time, enabling new diagnostic capabilities for human applications," added Timothy Lu,

In the new study, appearing in the journal Science, the team created sensors that respond to heme -- a component of blood --, and showed that they work in pigs.

The researchers engineered a probiotic strain of E. coli to express a genetic circuit that causes the bacteria to emit light when they encounter heme.

Then they placed the bacteria into four wells on their custom-designed sensor. Underneath each well is a phototransistor that can measure the amount of light produced by the bacterial cells and relay the information to a microprocessor that sends a to a nearby computer or

The researchers also built an app that can be used to analyse the data.

The sensor, which is a cylinder about 1.5 inches long, requires about 13 microwatts of power. The researchers equipped the sensor with a 2.7-volt battery, which they estimate could power the device for about 1.5 months of continuous use.

Tests on pigs showed that it could correctly determine whether any blood was present in the They anticipate that this type of sensor could be either deployed for one-time use or designed to remain in the digestive tract for several days or weeks, sending continuous signals.



(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Fri, May 25 2018. 14:32 IST