Specific Technologies announces results of study on bioterror sensor

Specific Technologies, a Mountain View, California-based diagnostic system developer, announced the results on Monday of a study that demonstrates the pathogenic detection abilities of the company's bioterrorism detection system.

The study was published in PLoS ONE and demonstrated 100 percent bacterial identification accuracy for potential bioterrorism agents such as potential biothreats Bacillus anthracis and Yersinia pestis at concentrations as low as eight colony-forming units. The study was conducted in collaboration with the Salisbury, U.K.-based Defense Science and Technology Laboratory.

"Microorganisms produce a complex mixture of volatile metabolites unique to their species and strain," Ray Martino, a co-founder and the COO of Specific Technologies, said. "Specific Technologies has developed a system for identifying the species and strain from their metabolic signature during culture, saving the delay and cost of molecular or chemical methods that follow culture."

Current standard practice for identifying a pathogenic bacteria requires the completion of a culture and molecular or chemical analysis. Specific Technologies system identifies microorganisms more quickly, saving precious hours during possibly lethal incidents. The system is also less expensive, delicate and bulky, allowing it to be used outside of a dedicated laboratory facility.

"The Specific Technologies sensor is small and disposable," Martino said. "The instrumentation is no more than what is found in common smart phones enabling the use of the solution in the field."