'Wearable 'Microbrewery' Can Protect Humans From Radiation Damage'
Scientists have engineered yeast "microbreweries" that can help hospital lab workers better track their daily radiation exposure, enabling a faster assessment of tissue damage that could lead to cancer.
The researchers at Purdue University in the US used disposable badges made of freezer paper, aluminum and tape to grow yeast, rather than building portable cellars or ovens.
On a commercial level, the readout device could one day be a tablet or phone, researchers said.
The badge could also be adapted in the future for nuclear power plant workers and victims of nuclear disasters, they said.
"You would use the badge when you are in the lab and recycle it after you have checked your exposure by plugging it into a device," said Manuel Ochoa, a postdoctoral researcher at Purdue.
Radiation doses creeping above regulated guidelines pose risk for developing conditions such as cancer, cataracts, skin irritation or thyroid disease.
"They wear the badges for a month or two, and then they send them to the company that made them.
"But it takes weeks for the company to read the data and send a report back to the hospital. Ours give an instant reading at much lower cost," said Ziaie.
When carbon dioxide bubbles at the surface, ions also form.
The concentration of these ions increases the electrical conductivity of yeast, which can be measured by hooking up the badge to a readout system.
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