NASA SBIR 02-1 Solicitation


PROPOSAL NUMBER:02- S4.03-9093 (For NASA Use Only - Chron: 022906 )
SUBTOPIC TITLE: Detection and Reduction of Biological Contamination on Flight Hardware and in Return-Sample Handling
PROPOSAL TITLE: Integrated Device to Sample and Identify Surface Microorganisms

SMALL BUSINESS CONCERN (Firm Name, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Lynntech, Inc.
7610 Eastmark Drive, Suite 202
College Station , TX   77840 - 4024
(979 ) 693 - 0017

PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR/PROJECT MANAGER (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Adrian Denvir
7610 Eastmark Drive, Suite 202
College Station , TX   77840 - 4024
(979 ) 693 - 0017

The accidental release of terrestrial biological contaminants into extraterrestrial environments or the possibility of unfamiliar biocontaminants entering Earth?s atmosphere via flight hardware poses a grave danger. Because the transport of extraterrestrial biological contamination during space flight missions could pose extreme global threats such as a fatal epidemic, reliable sampling and detection procedures are required. NASA does not possess an analytical method that performs real-time, rapid, highly sensitive analysis of biological contamination on flight hardware. Currently, a majority of the microbiological contaminants identified as a concern in space are not easily monitored because of the need to perform time consuming, laboratory-based analysis. Lynntech, Inc. is proposing a hand held vacuum sample collection device integrated with a portable micro-detection system based on electrochemical techniques. The vacuum system allows for efficient collection of microorganisms from a variety of different surfaces and it is anticipated that the collection efficiency will be increased by 80%. The unique design of the vacuum system allows for aseptic handling of the collected sample and reduces the chances for cross-contamination. The micro-components used in the fabrication of this hand held, battery operated vacuum system makes the unit highly portable. The detection unit will give real time, species specific information.

Lynntech?s proposed wet-vacuum surface sampling device and detector will offer the food industry, health industry and its regulators a rapid, portable, low cost system for identifying food borne pathogens more reliably at lower concentrations than the conventional swab procedure. Also, with the increased risk of bio terrorism the device can be used for sampling and detection of various biological agents by first responders. The device operates on conventional AA batteries, uses off the shelf components, is easy to use, maintain and transport. The integrated sample preparation and detection unit allows the user to perform analysis in the field.

The hand held sampling device proposed by Lynntech, Inc. will allow for rapid detection of biological contamination on flight hardware surfaces in near real time even when the contamination is only present in minute quantities. The wet-vacuum surface sampling device is 80% more efficient than conventional swabbing. The MEMS based detector unit will allow for on site analysis and utilization of small quantities of reagents. The device is functional in a micro gravity environment and can be used with one hand while wearing thick gloves. The small foot print of the device allows for sample collection in confined spaces.

Form Printed on 09-05-02 10:10