Sponsored By

Bubble wrap enters the world of diagnostic devices

Multiwell plates are used in various lab tests and in vitro diagnostic (IVD) applications to store blood and urine samples and to grow microorganisms. They are relatively expensive and not always available, especially in developing countries. Enter bubble wrap.

Norbert Sparrow

July 25, 2014

1 Min Read
Bubble wrap enters the world of diagnostic devices

Multiwell plates are used in various lab tests and in vitro diagnostic (IVD) applications to store blood and urine samples and to grow microorganisms. They are relatively expensive and not always available, especially in developing countries. Enter bubble wrap. George Whitesides and his team of researchers at Harvard University (Cambridge, MA) have turned the venerable packaging material into versatile vessels for substances ranging from sulfuric acid to urine, writes Andy Extance in chemistryworld.

Whitesides' team loaded the bubbles with liquids using a syringe or pipette and then resealing the hole with a fingernail hardener or silicone. They were able to show that the cells were leakproof and would not permit contamination of the samples. The researchers also showed that the cells could be used to culture E. coli and other bacteria.

There are drawbacks to the use of bubble wrap, notably the need to puncture and reseal the material, concedes Whitesides, but he is optimistic that this and other limitations can be overcome.

Backed by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the research is an example of adaptive use studies conducted by Whitesides that seek to convert existing cheap products into diagnostic tools for the developing world.

Click on the arrow below to learn about a urine test that could detect cancer.

Image courtesy posterize/freedigitalphotos.net.

bubblewrap-posterize-600.jpg

About the Author(s)

Norbert Sparrow

Editor in chief of PlasticsToday since 2015, Norbert Sparrow has more than 30 years of editorial experience in business-to-business media. He studied journalism at the Centre Universitaire d'Etudes du Journalisme in Strasbourg, France, where he earned a master's degree. Reach him at [email protected].

Sign up for the PlasticsToday NewsFeed newsletter.

You May Also Like