Researchers at Kansas State University have unveiled a faster and cheaper disease-detection tool.
Axiom Microbiome Array, or AMA, is the most comprehensive microorganism detection platform built to date and the first high-throughput microarray, the university team said.
"Two of the array's advantages are that it's faster and cheaper," said Raymond "Bob" Rowland, professor of diagnostic medicine and pathobiology at Kansas State's College of Veterinary Medicine.
"I live in the world of veterinary medicine and cost is critical.
"If we were to do a test using the LLMDA (Lawrence Livermore Microbial Detection Array) it would have cost us about $250 just for the reagents; now with the AMA we can do the same tests for $40."
When biologists and computer scientists first unveiled the versatile LLMDA in 2010, it could analyse samples for nearly 3,000 bacteria and viruses, all within 24 hours. But it could only analyse four samples a day.
With the 96-well AMA, the new detection system can analyse 96 samples in three days. Additionally, each of the 96 wells contain about 1.4 million probes, so samples are analysed by about 132 million probes.
"One of the most important conclusions of our study is that this is the first high-throughput microarray that has been developed," said LLNL biologist Crystal Jaing, who heads the LLMDA/AMA efforts.
"It increases the throughput by 10- to 20-fold and decreases the cost by five-fold."
The LLMDA was licensed in 2016 to Waltham, Massachusetts-based Thermo Fisher Scientific and went on sale later that year as Applied Biosystems AMA.