Stratophase announces bioweapons detection success

Stratophase recently announced that its two Portable Integrated Battlespace Biological Detection Technology prototypes successfully detected B. anthracis, ricin toxin and several other biowarfare factor model-agents in an exposure chamber test.

The company, a spinout from the U.K.’s University of Southampton that specializes in the real-time measurement of chemicals and biochemicals, was funded by the British Ministry of Defense and led by the manufacturer Biral.

The project also received support from a number of biodetection and microfluidics specialists, as well as a consortium of academic, commercial and military interests, according to

The PIBBDT showed that it is feasible to use a single complete system to collect biological factors present in the atmosphere, concentrate them into a liquid sample and then use an optical microchip detector to identify them.

“The PIBBDT project represents a major development in the generation of a specific biological detection technology for use by the UK’s armed forces,” Richard Williams, Stratophase’s chief executive, said. “This prototype system is an excellent example of how Stratophase’s robust, flexible optical microchip technology can be used to perform precise and dependable measurements.”

The technology was able to detect changes in the liquid’s refractive index to identify the substance as it passed over the chip’s surface. A coating of specific antibodies that have a high affinity and specificity to biological targets is programmed into the chip. When the liquid sample contained a virus, bacteria or toxin, it bound to the substance and resulted in a positive identification.

The microchip was also successfully tested at the U.K. Defense and Science Technology Laboratory bioagent exposure facility.