Real time monitoring of SEA contaminants by an autonomous Lab-on-a-chip biosensor
Chemical contamination of estuarine and coastal areas is a highly complex issue with negative implications for the environment, human health (through the food chain) and related coastal industries such as fisheries. To tackle such challenges, early warning systems that can provide extreme sensitivity with exquisite selectivity are required. SEA-ON-A-CHIP will develop a compact, autonomous and miniaturized analytical system based on a fully integrated array of micro/nano electrodes and a microfluidic system in a lab-on-a-chip configuration with electrochemical detection.
The project will improve technology associated to immuno-sensors for marine pollution control (natural or anthropogenic) with a clear repercussion on related industries such as fisheries and aquaculture facilities. Recent technological developments in the miniaturisation of electronics and wireless communication technology have led to the emergence of Environmental Sensor Networks (ESN). These will greatly enhance monitoring of the natural environment and in some cases open up new techniques.
The platform will be developed for a concrete application in aquaculture facilities, including the rapid assessment of 8 selected contaminants from 5 groups of compounds that affect aquaculture production (compounds which are toxic, bioaccumulative, endocrine disruptors), but also affect environment and human health (antibiotics and pesticides). The system will be built in order to work with one-month autonomy and measuring in real time at least once per hour. The units will be tested throughout the lifetime of the project and calibrated
to state-of-the-art of chemical analytics. With regards to energy, simple batteries will be used with small consumption of reagents and waste production.
In addition, the manufacturing process shall guarantee the cost-effective production of each device, permitting the deployment of multiple devices at a very low cost. SEA-on-a-CHIP will be validated using a step-by-step approach: first under laboratory conditions, second under simulated real conditions, and finally during 3 field experiments in the installation of 2 aquaculture SME facilities.
The last test phase will be performed in a way that will include dissemination of the findings with a clear view of commercializing the devices.
With a Consortium diverse in expertise and experience, SEA-on-a-CHIP aims to break down interdisciplinary barriers by synthesizing data and knowledge generated across its 7 RTD work packages. Three phases of development are planned. During the first phase, an early-prototype will be delivered, consisting of a platform with the basic technological requirements for the platform operation and a reduced number of compounds to be sensed. In the second phase, a second improved prototype will be validated according to the previous scheme. In the third phase, the final prototype will include the ability to analyse the 8 compounds in duplicates and the final platform will be validated. A long-term case study will be carried out for testing the system, final adjustments, validating the analytical results of the functioning of the platform and dissemination activities.