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Paperclips (November 01, 2008)

While the concept of bioactive paper is nothing new, and the Sentinel Bioactive Paper Network was launched after the SARS epidemic paralyzed the city of Toronto in 2003, the consortium of university r...


November 1, 2008
By Pulp & Paper Canada

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While the concept of bioactive paper is nothing new, and the Sentinel Bioactive Paper Network was launched after the SARS epidemic paralyzed the city of Toronto in 2003, the consortium of university researchers is taking an innovative approach to the detection of pathogens such as SARS and listeriosis. They’re using llamas.

“One of the issues with putting antibodies on paper is that they must be stable and last a long time sitting in store shelves,” www.intergovworld.comreported Dr. Robert Pelton, a professor of chemical engineering at McMaster University in Hamilton and scientific director of the Sentinel Bioactive Paper Network, as saying. “Llamas produce special antibodies that don’t decompose when they dry out or require refrigeration.” The llamas are injected with a target pathogen, which prompts the immune system to develop antibodies to attack it. “We isolate the DNA that generated the antibody from their blood and then genetically engineer that DNA in tobacco plants. The advantage of tobacco is that we don’t eat it, and there’s a dying tobacco industry in Ontario that wants to produce something that has higher value.”

In the wake of the listeriosis outbreak that has killed 20 Canadians, developing a bioactive paper that could alert humans to the presence of pathogens is, arguably, a pursuit of tremendous value.

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Source: www.intergovworld.com