Biosensor screens Air Force personnel and equipment for contamination

Air Force personnel will soon be able to know within minutes if they or their equipment are contaminated with a biological agent. system to collect and isolate samples, detect and identify agents, and assess the seriousness of the threat.


The biosensor system, developed by the Air Force and a national laboratory, consists of a spray and a hand-held “green box.” The green box, or DNA Capture Element instrument, uses a biochemical assay based on aptamers, or single chain DNA fragments.

The user sprays the suspected contaminated area, creating a sample that can be picked up by a swab. The sample is suspended in liquid by rinsing it in a container. Once in a liquid form, the sample is injected into a flow cell where the assay occurs.

An LCD, provides a quantitative readout of the concentration of material present, and a set of red, yellow, and green LEDs provides a reading of the threat level.

Via Eurekalert.