AgroPathogenMeter- developing a handheld platform for on-farm, rapid and, inexpensive animal testing

Renseignements sur le financement
Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada
  • Type de subvention: Projets stratégiques - De groupe
  • Années: 2017/18 à 2019/20
  • Financement total: $572,120
Mots clés
Chercheur(e) principal(e)

Sommaire du projet

We propose to develop the AgroPathogenMeter (APM)- a platform for on-site, rapid, and inexpensive testing of farm animals for deadly pathogens. Today's state-of-the-art method for testing animals for infectious pathogens is based on polymerase chain reaction (PCR). While a highly accurate technique, PCR is a centralized lab-based test, which results in sample-to-answer times in the order of days. This long wait time can lead to the spread of the disease, unnecessary animal slaughter, and animal welfare issues. The Canadian swine industry, the producer of >100,000 jobs and annual revenue of ~ $8 billion, is highly vulnerable to emerging swine infectious diseases due to the shrinking of boarders, integrated farming practices, and increased mobility of people and equipment. Simple and inexpensive tools for field detection of animal pathogens do not exist both in Canada and globally. This adds to the difficulty in identifying the presence and the source of pathogen at the point-of-need. Our interdisciplinary academic/industry team will develop a new testing platform that will be similar to the widely known glucose meter in terms of simplicity, portability, and rapid sample-to-answer times, with testing times in the order of minutes.Our interdisciplinary team will tackle the difficulties in creating simple and inexpensive diagnostic devices that are sensitive enough for meaningful disease testing. This will be achieved by integrating innovative materials and devices pioneered by the research team. The system's analytical sensitivity will be significantly enhanced through the integration of specific biorecognition elements (DNAzymes) coupled with catalytic target recycling, hybrid bio-organic materials for reducing non-specific interactions, and high surface area nanostructured microelectrodes. The unique and interdisciplinary project will provide an excellent training opportunity for HQP, training them in acquiring techniques and skills relevant to multiple industry sectors with a strong presence in Canada, as well as careers in academia and entrepreneurship.