Scientific communities across the world are focused on Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR), which could possibly become a worldwide health crisis involving deadly pathogens. As waterbodies are the major source for the dissemination and transfer of AMR, periodic monitoring of antimicrobial pollutants and antibiotic-resistant genes is the key to assess the current situation in India. In these conditions, low-cost and field-deployable sensors to detect pollutants in waterbodies could be a viable tool for environmental surveillance.
On the research work, S Pushpavanam, Institute Chair Professor, Department of Chemical Engineering, IIT-M, said, “Paper-based sensor offers an affordable platform for various point-of-care applications as they support fluid flow based on a wicking action and governed by capillary forces. This eliminates the requirement of a pump-to-flow liquid. We have come up with a novel method for the fabrication of paper-based devices using a commercial laser printer.”
“We use a porous substrate such as paper, which enables us to use standard software to print required designs on it. Once printed, the printer ink is deposited on the surface of the paper. When heated this penetrates the thickness of the paper and forms a hydrophobic barrier through which the liquid cannot pass. This allows us to direct the flow of liquid in preferential directions through the areas which are not printed and are hydrophilic,” he added.
The practical applications of these sensors include environmental monitoring, food safety analysis, and healthcare monitoring.