Being a scientist is a great thing! But in many cases, you get stuck in your own world, surrounded by academics that have the same or somewhat similar background as yours. And you lose the point. Being a scientist is not about results that show your greatness. It’s about how good you are in making people, without any scientific background, understand what you are doing within the walls of a lab. And most importantly make those people care about your work.
Personally, I find it really difficult to simplify my topic, and it’s something that I’m working on for the past couple of months. The reason is that I was chosen to participate in the “falling walls lab” that is going to take place in Brussels on the 26th of September. “Falling walls lab” is a competition where we are expected to present within 3 minutes and with a simplified way, our work while highlighting its importance.
Continuing the explanation of my topic, that I started in my latest FoodSmartphone blog/vlog, I want to explain more on the basics of lateral flow immunoassays, also called strip tests. However, as it is stated in the title, this is a “lazy blog”. So, I’ll let the pros do it. In the ted-ed video that I have attached, it is explained how a pregnancy test works. As I said in my last FoodSmartphone vlog, almost the same principles apply for the detection of food contaminants in the strip tests. But instead of detecting the pregnancy hormone, we are detecting unwanted food substances.
Shortly what you should remember about strip tests:
- Y shaped proteins called antibodies are used in strip tests.
- The antibodies recognize and bind with the substance under detection.
- The sample, in liquid form, is positioned at the beginning of the strip test, and it starts to move, drifting the substance that binds with the antibodies.
- When the antibodies and the substance reach a specific point of the test, they produce an optical signal for evaluation.
- Strip tests can help us identify only the presence or absence of a substance.
- Because of the nature of the strip test, false positive or negative results may occur.
Those strip tests I’m working on “marring” with a mass spectrometer, whose principles we will dig in the next blog.
TiIl next time though,
Peace and love!