Analyser of soft particles in liquids

Schematic view of adhesion of unicellular marine algae Dunaliella tertiolecta on electrode surface.

Adhesion of unicellular marine algae Dunaliella tertiolecta onelectrode surface.

Market opportunity

Every day scientists face the problem of detection and characterisation of soft particles (organic micro-droplets, vesicles, living cells, blood cells, liposomes) in investigation and monitoring of the quality of natural waters, technological processes in pharmaceutical and food industry as well as in biotechnology. Mucilage formation in the Northern Adriatic Sea, and also in other seas, which is caused by soft particle aggregation, causes millions of Euros of damage to tourism and fisheries. Our analyser can be used by environmental monitoring agencies (water contamination with e.g. crude oil), process, cosmetic and pharmaceutical industry, clinical laboratories (e.g. blood cells or spermatozoa counting) as well as research institutes.

Innovation description

Our innovation represents a new class of sensor with analyser for selective detection of soft particles in aquatic environment. Fluid organic particles like oil droplets, organic marine micro-particles and unicellular algae can be detected and characterised by their adhesion on an electrode / water solution midsurface. Frequency of signal appearance reflects the concentration of reactive particles, while amplitude of adhesion signals reflects single cell size. The following parameters can be measured: concentration (105-108 particles per dm3), size (1–500 mm), fluidity, surface charge, adhesion properties and spreading rate. Measurements are conducted in a direct way, by simple immersion of a mercury  electrode in a medium like sea water, estuarine or fresh water, industrial effluents, technological processes effluents and body fluids.

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At this moment there is no equivalent instrument on the market, which can characterise soft particlesin situ- from water or blood samples. The most common principle for particle counting and sizing is the Coulter principle, but to use this method it is necessary to have diluted sample and adjusted pH.

Intellectual property status

This innovation is the subject of US patent application. Rudjer Innovations Ltd would like to offer the patent as well as related know-how and experience to companies interested in commercial exploitation.