NUTRISHIELD Human Milk and Urine Analyser – easy to use alternative to conventional methods
J. Karrer, S. Schmode – Quantared Technologies
21 May 2020
Nutrition is a topic, which surrounds us everywhere we go. People are getting more aware of what they should eat and what is healthy or not. However, metabolism is not a universal code that is applicable to the whole population. Healthy to one person does not mean healthy to another. In the NUTRISHIELD project all members are working together to give tailored nutrition advice to the population. This is important to reduce obesity and related diseases, but also optimize the nutrition in the early stages of infant development. This is only possible with thorough tests on which the nutrition commendation is based on.
QuantaRed Technologies will develop two analyser prototypes, one targeting urine and the other human milk. The goal is to measure parameters, which are not easily accessible with current methods (e.g. complex reactions, accuracy).
Urine Analyser Prototype:
State of the art urine analysis uses different methods (dip stick tests or reactions followed by analytical measurements like colorimetry or potentiometry) to measure the wanted analytes. Usually it is required to collect urine for 24 hours to measure the sample. Most of the test methods require reagents and/or consumables, and can only be conducted by specialised laboratory staff. The NUTRISHIELD urine analyser aims to create an alternative to the existing techniques and does not require chemicals, consumables, laboratory staff and it is not necessary to collect the urine for 24 hours.
Human Milk Analyser Prototype:
The composition of human milk is one of the key parameters for the nutrition and therefore the development of infants. There are different laboratory scale measurements that are implemented within the NUTRISHIELD project. The NUTRISHIELD human milk analyser will provide partly the same information, that can be measured with these measurements, but also additional information to provide even more data that can be used to fill the NUTRISHIELD platform.
Both NUTRISHIELD analysers will be based on laser technology developed by NUTRISHIELD project partner Alpes Lasers. Compared to conventional FTIR devices, which use thermal sources (globars), the power of Quantum Cascade lasers is higher. The higher power of these lasers brings a lot of advantages for device developers like QuantaRed Technologies. A conventional FTIR can only use very thin flow cells, which can clogg easily with complex samples like human milk. Using a QCL brings the advantage of using thicker flow cells and therefore have a more robust device. Another advantage of using a QCL is the better sensitivity, which also leads to more accurate, robust results and a smaller limit of detection.
QuantaRed Technologies’ devices are a very easy to use and fast device to measure trace-levels of contamination. QuantaRed Technologies aims to achieve a high level of accuracy, robustness and usability for the NUTRISHIELD analysers – data with just one click on the “Start” button – no consumables, chemicals or skilled laboratory staff needed.