Bruker launches portable toxin identification system
17 Feb 2011
Bruker has launched a compact, fully automated and fast toxin
identification system, called pTD (portable toxin detector).
The benchtop, push-button pTD system is intended for smaller,
field and mobile laboratories for use by non-expert operators in
homeland security applications.
While detection capabilities for bacterial or viral agents exist,
using either PCR-based or proteomic fingerprinting identification (eg
the Bruker MALDI Biotyper), the current technologies for the
detection and identification of toxins in the field are insensitive
and slow, or involve complicated sample preparation in specialized
The new Bruker pTD system greatly simplifies and accelerates the
process of detecting a potential biological terror attack using
toxins. It uses a novel, lab chip-based, fully automated ELISA
process that allows the simultaneous identification of five toxins
with an order of magnitude better sensitivity than traditional
The fully automated pTD includes controls to minimize false positive
or negative alarms — with toxin identification and quality control
all in less than 30 minutes.
The pTD system accepts liquid and solid samples and does not
require any external sample preparation steps. Every sample is
automatically checked for five toxins simultaneously using
multiplexed, proprietary lab chips.
Toxin identification is based on ELISA assays using highly
specific antibodies, combined with an electrochemical readout. All
sample preparation steps are performed automatically inside the lab
chip, and the results are displayed on the control computer. Before
shutdown, the system automatically decontaminates itself internally.
The pTD system, which has been co-developed with German company
Analytik Jena AG, presently identifies the five toxins Botulinum
Toxin A, B and E, as well as Ricin and Staphylococcus
enterotoxin B on one chip. Additional toxin ID chips are under
Frank Thibodeau, Vice President of Bruker Detection Corporation,
stated: “Unfortunately, compared to the complexity of producing and
using bacteria or viruses for terror attacks, toxins are potentially
easier to produce and can be a serious threat. With the increasing
threat by toxins, the easy to use, fully automated, fast, very
sensitive and fieldable pTD system is vital for homeland security
and defense applications.”