Canadian researchers and industrial partner print biosensors on paper to
rapidly detect toxins and Sentinel announces its first spin-off company

TORONTO, Oct. 20 /CNW/ - In conjunction with its three-day annual scientific conference, Sentinel Bioactive Paper Network today publically demonstrated to media and industry partners its Canadian developed bioactive paper sensors using printing technology developed by one of their industrial partners FUJIFILM Dimatix. The team tested common grocery items such as apples, lettuce and milk. This innovation effort now produces in-lab bioactive paper sensors that can detect miniscule quantities of pesticides found in food and beverage samples. The in-lab biosensor cost is less than 25-cents CAD.

Additionally at the conference, Sentinel's first early-stage spin-off company, PatraTec Inc., launched and presented its business plan to conference attendees. PatraTec Inc. ( is working towards simplified and reliable water testing tools to detect pathogens in water. Their first products are geared towards greenhouses and private water-wells in North America. PatraTec Inc. plans to launch their first product in August 2010.

The sensor demonstration showcased how the simple, portable and cost-effective bioactive paper sensors are produced and showed the colour-changing sensors. The paper sensors tested today did not detect that any acetylcholinesterase (AChE) pesticides were present with the grocery items purchased. The sensor has a shelf-life of at least one month and can be stored at room temperature. Future applications for the biosensors include point-of-care medical diagnostics, food and water-borne pathogen detection and bioterrorism agents.

The journal paper supporting today's demonstration appears in Analytical Chemistry in ASAP mode (articles edited and published online ahead of print) at

"Bioactive paper strips can detect a range of biohazards that affect animals and humans worldwide," said Dr. Brennan. "Banned organophosphates are actively used in the developing world for spraying agricultural crops. Our sensors have the potential to provide rapid testing for organophosphates in the field."

Sentinel Bioactive Paper Network represents 11 Canadian universities, industry and government partners. Sentinel was formed in 2005 with $8.5-million in funding over five years from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada. Another $2.5-million has been contributed by industrial partners and the Ontario Centres of Excellence. McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario hosts SENTINEL's administrative centre.


For further information: For further information: Jill Wright, communications for Sentinel Bioactive Paper Network, (519) 851-3896,

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