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Indian, UK scientists discover origami-like farming solutions

Press Trust of India  |  London 

Scientists from the UK and have discovered a disposable that uses folding, akin to origami, to process complex biochemical tests that can help farmers develop very low-cost diagnostics to improve the health of livestock.

In a published in the journalACS Sensors, biomedical engineers, veterinary scientists and bacteriologists from Britain and describe how the procedure helped farmers in identify three in cattle.

The new technique provides a new method for identifyingBrucella, Leptospira and virus-1 infections, which are particularly prevalent in India, along with many other countries in Asia, and

All three can affect livestocks reproductive organs, reducing fertility and resulting in loss of milk production, with a significant impact on agricultural output.

"These folded pieces of wax-printed paper, which can be made using a standard printer, may look simple, but the unique properties of folded give us a highly reproducible method to capture samples and prepare them for testing," said Dr Zhugen Yang, biomedical engineering research fellow at the and the of the paper.

"The tests we conducted on farms showed excellent results, which were as good as tests conducted in laboratory conditions. Its a very encouraging result which shows future promise for veterinary medicine," said Yang, who undertook field trips to India.

Reproductive are difficult for farmers to diagnose through simple observation during the early stages, meaning can spread quickly during breeding season.

Once infected cattle are identified, they must be destroyed, leading to disruptions in milk supply and incurring significant costs for farmers.

While there are molecular diagnostics tests currently available for these infections, they are time-consuming, expensive and require skilled technicians to administer them, meaning the tests cannot be undertaken in areas far from specialised facilities.

The new diagnostic technology, developed by researchers from the University of Glasgow, uses a commercially-available printer, which coats the paper in patterns made from water-resistant wax. When the paper is folded like in the Japanese techniquethe sample fluid is directed into channels in the pattern.

The enables the DNA of the pathogens to be detected, thus providing the ability to diagnose infections.

The technology was tested during two field trips to Izzatnagar in Uttar Pradesh, where the have a particularly high prevalence.

Jonathan Cooper, the Chair of Bioengineering, said: "Being able to quickly and affordably identify the most common reproductive in cattle could help support agriculture in low- to middle-income countries."

"It could be of particular benefit in India, which is now the worlds largest dairy producer, contributing around 125 billion litres each year. Were very pleased with these results, and keen to move forward in making this technology available for vets and farmers in Asia, and "

The new paper, titled Rapid Veterinary Diagnosis of from Semen using Paper-DNA Microfluidics, involved theteam from the collaborating with partners in the and the in the UK.

The research was supported by funding from the and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC), the Indian Governments Department of Biotechnology, the (EPSRC), and the (ERC).

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

First Published: Tue, February 20 2018. 20:45 IST