Hybrid nanosensor for screening dispersed nanoparticles and heavy metal ions in natural waters.

Lead Research Organisation: University of Leeds
Department Name: Centre for Molecular Nanoscience

Abstract

SUMMARY

1. The work to be undertaken:-

This project will take a pre-validated device of a microfabricated silicon wafer based Pt/Hg electrode in flow cell system which currently screens the biomembrane activity of nanoparticle dispersions and apply it to the high throughput determination of heavy metal ions in water. The technical work will consist of adjusting the flow system and electrochemical programming of the device to accommodate heavy metal ion : Zn2+, Cd2+, Pb2+ and Cu2+ voltammetric determinations. Subsequently the detection limits, sensitivities and interferences in the determination of these metal ions in natural waters will be evaluated. Both the nanoparticle and heavy metal ion screening applications will be integrated and combined in a hybrid device.

2. How it will inform our understanding:-

A comprehensive characterisation of the performance will give us an exact understanding of the capabilities of the device which is very important when negotiating agreements with potential licensees.

3. How it will help shape our strategy for, and execution of, our anticipated Follow-On project:-

A hybrid device will greatly strengthen the existing IP and enhance its marketable potential. Discussions will be begun with a potential licensee on the best pathway to commercialisation of the device and further funds will be sought for this most probably from EU FP7. The pathfinder fund will bring the nanoparticle and heavy metal screening capability of the sensing device to TRL 3 which is at the level of application for EU FP7 /Follow-On funds. The EU FP7/Follow On funds will take the technology to TRL 5 by a) streamlining the validated sensing device by developing microfluidic systems, b) configuring computer programmes for automating the analysis and analysing data c) fully characterising the performance in the different applications listed below and d) widening the sensing potential to feasible areas like air sampling.

IMPACT SUMMARY

The hybrid nanosensor will be of direct benefit to the following:-

(a) Water industry for screening engineered metal oxide and heavy metal ions drinking waters and river waters. One of the major applications would be to introduce this technology as a routine test for the presence of these materials in drinking waters at various stages of purification. This will become increasingly important with the use of nanosized materials in water treatment.
(b) Marine agencies to screen engineered nanoparticle and heavy metal ions in seawater and assess their putative toxicity. NERC through Plymouth Marine Laboratory funded the science underlying this technology development 1985-2001.
(c) Security and defence to detect presence of toxic NP and heavy metal ions in urban atmospheres and drinking waters. This is a key growth area in the post 9/11 world, although this market has chiefly been driven by US companies.
(d) Pharmaceutical companies for screening biomembrane activity of new bionanomaterials. Pharmaceutical companies normally use cell culture procedures to assay biocompatibility. The proposed current technology has shown proof of principle to measure membrane activity of bionanomaterials e.g peptide bionanomaterials far more rapidly and cheaply than the "conventional" methods.
(e) Biomaterials fabrication to test the biomembrane compatibility of newly fabricated materials especially at the nanometer dimension. NERC have already "start-up" funded the proposer using the older technology to look at the biological activity of engineered nanoparticles.
(f) Consumer products: Unilever and Proctor and Gamble (P & G) would have an interest. Using a sensor like the one proposed would help them not only design better products, but would help them to better understand the chemistry of their activities in-situ.
(g) Health care: The proposed sensor would offer a rapid means of screening preparations intended for applications in health care.

Publications

10 25 50

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Kohl Y (2021) Microfluidic In Vitro Platform for (Nano)Safety and (Nano)Drug Efficiency Screening. in Small (Weinheim an der Bergstrasse, Germany)

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Mohamadi S (2014) Electrochemical screening of biomembrane-active compounds in water. in Analytica chimica acta

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Rashid A (2018) Phospholipid bilayers at the mercury (Hg)/water interface in Electrochimica Acta

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Sanver D (2016) Experimental Modeling of Flavonoid-Biomembrane Interactions. in Langmuir : the ACS journal of surfaces and colloids

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Vakurov A (2013) ZnO nanoparticle interactions with phospholipid monolayers. in Journal of colloid and interface science

 
Description Developed hybrid sensor for high throughput on line screening of water for nanoparticle biomembrane activity and heavy metal ions.
Exploitation Route The device can be used in water industry as a real time screener for nanoparticles/heavy metal ions.
Sectors Aerospace, Defence and Marine,Environment,Healthcare,Pharmaceuticals and Medical Biotechnology

 
Description A proof of concept study on use of biomembrane-based sensor showed that it could be applied to the high throughput detection of both nanoparticle dispersions and heavy metal ions in water. This data enabled the PI to secure a further NERC follow on award
First Year Of Impact 2012
Sector Aerospace, Defence and Marine,Environment,Healthcare,Pharmaceuticals and Medical Biotechnology
Impact Types Policy & public services

 
Description Winter School at University of Plymouth. on nanotechnology
Geographic Reach Multiple continents/international 
Policy Influence Type Influenced training of practitioners or researchers
Impact Ran an international winter school for practitioners in nanotechnology for one week in Plymouth January 2012 on the characterisation, behaviour and safety assessment procedures regarding nanomaterial dispersions
 
Description Commercialisation of membrane-based screen on chip for natural waters and seawater
Amount £13,316 (GBP)
Funding ID NE/S008977/1 
Organisation Natural Environment Research Council 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 08/2018 
End 10/2018
 
Description Horizon 2020
Amount € 6,400,000 (EUR)
Funding ID 685817 
Organisation European Commission 
Sector Public
Country European Union (EU)
Start 04/2016 
End 03/2019
 
Description Knowledge exchange grant
Amount £20,000 (GBP)
Funding ID NE/L01274X/1 
Organisation Natural Environment Research Council 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 01/2014 
End 03/2014
 
Description NERC follow on award
Amount £79,762 (GBP)
Funding ID NE/K00686X/1 
Organisation Natural Environment Research Council 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 05/2013 
End 01/2014
 
Description SAFETY BY DESIGN OF NANOMATERIALS (SABYDOMA) - FROM LAB MANUFACTURE TO GOVERNANCE AND COMMUNICATION: PROGRESSING UP THE TRL LADDER
Amount € 6,000,000 (EUR)
Funding ID 862296 
Organisation European Commission H2020 
Sector Public
Country Belgium
Start 04/2020 
End 09/2023
 
Description Towards successfully realising the impact of the chip-based phospholipid on mercury (Hg) device as a toxicity sensing system
Amount £96,173 (GBP)
Funding ID NE/M021378/1 
Organisation Natural Environment Research Council 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 06/2015 
End 04/2016
 
Title Development of an an electrochemical screen for biomembrane active compounds and particles. 
Description The screening platform consists of a membrane sensor element on mercury (Hg) microelectrode. The electrode is fabricated on a silicon wafer where the Hg is tightly bound to platinum (Pt). Biomembrane active compounds/particles interact with the membrane sensor element modifying its organisation in a specific and selective way. The technology now has a full performance evaluation and rivals any existing techniques for assaying biomembrane activity. The technology is also micronised and ruggedised to operate in a high throughput configuration. 
Type Of Material Model of mechanisms or symptoms - in vitro 
Provided To Others? No  
Impact The most notable impact of this research has been the development of a collaboration with Unilever over the past year. The technology won Special Commendation by Lush Prize (2013) committee for services to the replacement of animals in testing. The research tool formed the heart and basis of the development of the EU funded HISENTS project. The research tool has formed the basis of the Option Agreement between Blueprint Product Design Ltd and University of Leeds and to the writing of three grant applications one of which to InnovateUK has been approved. 
 
Description ALcontrol Ltd 
Organisation ALcontrol Laboratories
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution We have been working with Unilever on a NERC funded Innovation Grant. We have screened 20 compounds for Unilever and are assessing our technolgy in the context of Unilever's methods and in the toxicity sensing area in general.
Collaborator Contribution ALcontrol's contribution is mainly in the form of commenting on the final results.
Impact None as yet.
Start Year 2015
 
Description Analox Ltd 
Organisation Analox Sensor Technology
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution We entered into a TSB funded opportunity with Analox Ltd, MicroLab Devices and PALL to develop a sensor for tricresyl phosphate in aircraft cabins. Our contribution was to develop the sensing technology.
Collaborator Contribution MicroLab Devices administered the programme and carried out some engineering work on the sensing technology.
Impact No concrete outcomes at present. Collaboration was multidisciplinary.
Start Year 2014
 
Description Blueprint Design Ltd (BPDES) 
Organisation BlueFrog Design
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution We have had a series of meetings with the partner describing our research and applications. We took on the partner as the SME beneficiary to our EU H2020 funded HISENTS program. BPDES will lead the dissemination and exploitation work package. We have written three further grant applications with them: EU H2020 SMEinstrument application RAPPONSE submitted last January and two InnovateUK applications one of which has been approved for funding 58695 GBP coming to Leeds as subcontract.
Collaborator Contribution The partner has developed a market survey report for our technology. BPDES contributed to the writing of the three proposals above. BPDES have drawn up an Option Agreement for the IP at present owned by University of Leeds and signed by both partners.
Impact The collaboration is ongoing. Partner has joined EU HISENTS consortium where we are co-ordinators. This program began 1 April 2017. Blueprint and myself have applied for two Innovate_UK awards using the technology. One of these awards has been successful and we are awaiting formalisation. We have also applied for an H2020 SMEinstrument award. In the evaluation we passed all thresholds but did not achieve sufficient ranking to be awarded the grant. We have three more submissions this year to SMEinstrument call.
Start Year 2014
 
Description Entered into working collaboration with Bio-Mimetic Chromatography Ltd to validate UoL screening technology against the technology of the company using a set of synthetic antimicrobial peptides as case studies. 
Organisation Bio-mimetic chromatography
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution We screened about 20 novel synthetic antimicrobial peptides. for biomembrane activity against standard partition coefficient tests done by company and toxicity tests carried out by University of Karlsruhe, Germany.. We correlated our biomembrane activity results with the partitioning toxicity data. We hosted a student from the company for three days.
Collaborator Contribution The company supplied the peptides and the student via University College London and University of Karlsruhe. The company carried out an extensive characterisation of the compounds particularly partition coefficient data.
Impact A paper on this very successful collaboration is being prepared and will be submitted this year.
Start Year 2018
 
Description Formation of HISENTS EU consortium 
Organisation Blueprint Design Company
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution I contacted ten partners in 2015 and together we put together a grant application to H2020 which was successful. The grant programme began April 2016.
Collaborator Contribution Each partner contributed to the application in the form of describing the work that they would do in the proposed project. At present each partner is contributing to the work of the project.
Impact The outputs from this HISENTS project in the form of deliverables and mid-term report have now been provisionally accepted by the EU commission
Start Year 2015
 
Description Formation of HISENTS EU consortium 
Organisation Catalan Institute of Nanoscience and Nanotechnology
Country Spain 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution I contacted ten partners in 2015 and together we put together a grant application to H2020 which was successful. The grant programme began April 2016.
Collaborator Contribution Each partner contributed to the application in the form of describing the work that they would do in the proposed project. At present each partner is contributing to the work of the project.
Impact The outputs from this HISENTS project in the form of deliverables and mid-term report have now been provisionally accepted by the EU commission
Start Year 2015
 
Description Formation of HISENTS EU consortium 
Organisation Fraunhofer Society
Department The Fraunhofer Institute for Biomedical Engineering (IBMT)
Country Germany 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution I contacted ten partners in 2015 and together we put together a grant application to H2020 which was successful. The grant programme began April 2016.
Collaborator Contribution Each partner contributed to the application in the form of describing the work that they would do in the proposed project. At present each partner is contributing to the work of the project.
Impact The outputs from this HISENTS project in the form of deliverables and mid-term report have now been provisionally accepted by the EU commission
Start Year 2015
 
Description Formation of HISENTS EU consortium 
Organisation Norwegian Institute for Air Research
Country Norway 
Sector Charity/Non Profit 
PI Contribution I contacted ten partners in 2015 and together we put together a grant application to H2020 which was successful. The grant programme began April 2016.
Collaborator Contribution Each partner contributed to the application in the form of describing the work that they would do in the proposed project. At present each partner is contributing to the work of the project.
Impact The outputs from this HISENTS project in the form of deliverables and mid-term report have now been provisionally accepted by the EU commission
Start Year 2015
 
Description Formation of HISENTS EU consortium 
Organisation Saarland University
Country Germany 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution I contacted ten partners in 2015 and together we put together a grant application to H2020 which was successful. The grant programme began April 2016.
Collaborator Contribution Each partner contributed to the application in the form of describing the work that they would do in the proposed project. At present each partner is contributing to the work of the project.
Impact The outputs from this HISENTS project in the form of deliverables and mid-term report have now been provisionally accepted by the EU commission
Start Year 2015
 
Description Formation of HISENTS EU consortium 
Organisation Slovak University of Technology in Bratislava
Country Slovakia 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution I contacted ten partners in 2015 and together we put together a grant application to H2020 which was successful. The grant programme began April 2016.
Collaborator Contribution Each partner contributed to the application in the form of describing the work that they would do in the proposed project. At present each partner is contributing to the work of the project.
Impact The outputs from this HISENTS project in the form of deliverables and mid-term report have now been provisionally accepted by the EU commission
Start Year 2015
 
Description Formation of HISENTS EU consortium 
Organisation Tel Aviv University
Country Israel 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution I contacted ten partners in 2015 and together we put together a grant application to H2020 which was successful. The grant programme began April 2016.
Collaborator Contribution Each partner contributed to the application in the form of describing the work that they would do in the proposed project. At present each partner is contributing to the work of the project.
Impact The outputs from this HISENTS project in the form of deliverables and mid-term report have now been provisionally accepted by the EU commission
Start Year 2015
 
Description Formation of HISENTS EU consortium 
Organisation University College Cork
Department Tyndall National Institute
Country Ireland 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution I contacted ten partners in 2015 and together we put together a grant application to H2020 which was successful. The grant programme began April 2016.
Collaborator Contribution Each partner contributed to the application in the form of describing the work that they would do in the proposed project. At present each partner is contributing to the work of the project.
Impact The outputs from this HISENTS project in the form of deliverables and mid-term report have now been provisionally accepted by the EU commission
Start Year 2015
 
Description Formation of HISENTS EU consortium 
Organisation University Hospital Bratislava
Country Slovakia 
Sector Hospitals 
PI Contribution I contacted ten partners in 2015 and together we put together a grant application to H2020 which was successful. The grant programme began April 2016.
Collaborator Contribution Each partner contributed to the application in the form of describing the work that they would do in the proposed project. At present each partner is contributing to the work of the project.
Impact The outputs from this HISENTS project in the form of deliverables and mid-term report have now been provisionally accepted by the EU commission
Start Year 2015
 
Description Formation of HISENTS EU consortium 
Organisation Vienna University of Technology
Country Austria 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution I contacted ten partners in 2015 and together we put together a grant application to H2020 which was successful. The grant programme began April 2016.
Collaborator Contribution Each partner contributed to the application in the form of describing the work that they would do in the proposed project. At present each partner is contributing to the work of the project.
Impact The outputs from this HISENTS project in the form of deliverables and mid-term report have now been provisionally accepted by the EU commission
Start Year 2015
 
Description MicroLab Devices Ltd 
Organisation MicroLab devices Ltd
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution MicroLab Devices, Analox Ltd and PALL joined with Leeds on a TSB programme to develop a sensor to determine tricresyl phosphate in aircraft cabin air. Leeds carried out the bulk of the work developing the sensing technology.
Collaborator Contribution MicroLab Devices administered the programme. MicroLab Devices made some contribution to the engineering systems of the sensing platform.
Impact None as yet.
Start Year 2014
 
Description PALL 
Organisation PALL Europe
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution Leeds, Analox Ltd, MicroLab Devices carried out TSB funded research into a sensor technology to determine tricresyl phosphate in aircraft cabin air. Leeds carried out most of work developing sensor technology.
Collaborator Contribution MicroLab Devices administered the programme and carried out a small amount of engineering work. PALL did some market research on the need for the sensor technology.
Impact None as yet.
Start Year 2014
 
Description Platform Kinetics Ltd 
Organisation Platform Kinetics
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution We applied jointly with Platform Kinetics Ltd (PKL) for an MoD Dstl grant and were successful. This project involved the development of a screener for antibiotic-target binding using membrane electrochemical methods. The idea was also to embed this screener within a microfluidic system.
Collaborator Contribution PKL developed a microfluidic system and automatic interrogation techniques to interface withe electrochemical screen.
Impact The main output of this collaboration is that proof of concept results have shown that the electrochemical screen for broad-based antibiotic binding with targets is entirely feasible. This has led to a collaboration with the funders the Dstl on an application for funding for a PhD studentship. Disciplines involved are: electrochemistry, microfluidics, synthetic organic chemistry and bacteriology.
Start Year 2013
 
Description Unilever 
Organisation Unilever
Department Unilever Research and Development
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution We have been developing a liaison with Unilever over a year. We shall now screen some compounds for Unilever as a cross validation exercise for our technology. This will consolidate our collaboration. We have now been successful and obtained an Innovation grant from NERC started last June to work with Unilever, SEAC assessing how our technology compared with Unilever's in-house procedures.
Collaborator Contribution Unilever have supplied us with twenty calibration compounds. We have had regular communication with Unilever since June last year comparing our data sets. Unilever has given us sight of numerous data sets using different toxicity sensing technologies.
Impact Collaboration is multidisciplinary and joint paper is in preparation
Start Year 2014
 
Title BIOSENSOR 
Description The discovery relates to the deposition of thin mercury films on to fabricated platinum microelectrodes and the deposition of phospholipid monolayers on the mercury .and their use as toxicity sensors. 
IP Reference WO2009016366 
Protection Patent granted
Year Protection Granted 2016
Licensed No
Impact An Option Agreement relating to the transfer of the IP to a SME was drawn up in 2016 leading to the future licensing of the IP to the SME subject to them raising sufficient finance.
 
Title Experimental platform for screening pharmaceuticals and toxins for toxicity 
Description Innovation is an electrochemical technology of sensor element on chip-based electrode in flow system which can screen toxins and pharmaceuticals for toxicity. Technology is high throughput and on-line. A NERC Innovation Grant funded this work which finished in April 2016 and was carried out in collaboration with Unilever, SEAC. This platform led to the idea of a mulitmodule platform for screening nanomaterials, toxins and pharmaceuticals for toxicity and formed the basis of a Horizon 2020 application which was successful and began April 2016. 
Type Diagnostic Tool - Non-Imaging
Current Stage Of Development Refinement. Non-clinical
Year Development Stage Completed 2014
Development Status Actively seeking support
Impact No medical impacts realised yet. 
 
Description Chaired Innovation working group of EU Nanosafety Cluster. Initiated working group to plan calls for Safety by Design topic in next Framework of EU (Horizon Europe). 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact Initiated and chaired working group telecom meetings. Gave leading introductory talk at Vienna Industrial Technologies meeting. Chaired Innovation group meeting in Grenoble.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description Member of an OECD technical expert panel on hydrophobicity of nanoparticles 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact The purpose of this expert panel is to develop a technical guidance. note for OECD i.e. international standard use. for the characterisation of the hydrophobicity of nano materials. We have had one face to face meeting in October 2019. This has been followed up with a circulation round the group of the particular analytical technology proposed for standard implementation. We are holding a ring trial intercalibration of this standardised technology. later this year probably in June and I shall be leading the University of Leeds component.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019,2020
 
Description Public lectures 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact I give yearly lectures at Imperial College about the development of my technology. This stimulates students who wish to innovate themselves. I give talks at national KT meetings on the history of my technology and engaging with the industrial sector.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2013,2014,2015,2016,2017
 
Description Regular talks to public on impact of science on society and impact of society on scientific work 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? Yes
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact The talks have stimulated debate and discussion and instigated invitations to give further talks.

The talks gave rise to me developing novel university courses and to be invited to other universities to give talks on this subject ie scientific impact
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2009,2010,2011,2012,2013,2014
 
Description Stakeholder workshop 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact Planned, executed and Chaired a Stakeholder conference where details of the EU HISENTS platform was disseminated and feedback from the stakeholders was obtained.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
URL https://hisents.org/2018/02/26/hisents-stakeholder-workshop/