User:Jonathan Cline/Notebook/Melaminometer/As proof of DIY Bio

From OpenWetWare
< User:Jonathan Cline‎ | Notebook‎ | Melaminometer
Revision as of 22:52, 15 October 2008 by Jonathan Cline (talk | contribs) (New page: = User:Jonathan_Cline/Notebook/Melaminometer = == Project Proposal == Use of synthetic biology has been proposed by OpenWetWare and related individuals/labs/groups as a means for...)
(diff) ← Older revision | Latest revision (diff) | Newer revision → (diff)
Jump to: navigation, search


Project Proposal

Use of synthetic biology has been proposed by OpenWetWare and related individuals/labs/groups as a means for non-scientists to use biotechnology. I propose creation of a simple and much needed chemical detector as one possible method of testing the idea of "DIY Bio". This theoretical "Melaminometer" detector registers presence of both melamine and/or cyanuric acid; original proposal below.

Original Proposal

-------- Original Message --------
Subject: 	actually 'doing bio'
Date: 	Thu, 9 Oct 2008 06:26:17 -0700 (PDT)
From: 	JonathanCline <>
To: 	DIYbio 

I would like to propose a real example regarding diy bio.

Currently in asia, as reported on HK news, there are
10,000 babies in the hospital after being poisoned with
melamine from purposely-tainted milk products.  Note that
melamine has now been found in M&M's, in oreo cookies, in
cereal..  I dunno about you guys, I like M&Ms.

It occurred to me this week as I was attempting to buy
some cereal over here in asia.. and looking at the
palettes of quaker oats "on discount", I'm not too
encouraged that all the contaminated food is being, or
will be, actually disposed of.

I would like a melamine detector so I could test the food
in my fridge and the food from the store.  Some of the
contaminated food will get "curiously" re-directed to
resellers as discount stock and may be re-sold for years
through local channels - the locals need this detector

So sure would be nice to have a cheap melamine detector.
I'm not talking about something fancy, like taking a
sample of food to send to a lab which reports the result
in 1 week or 1 day.  I'm talking about something I can
stir up in the kitchen for years to come that turns red
within an hour for "don't eat this."

This should be a simple DIYBIO project, right?

I am encouraged by open source biology because open source
has been shown to have the quickest response time for
problems found in the field.  Simple example:  When
someone found a major flaw in Intel Pentium chips, the
Illegal Instruction errata, and Intel admitted it was a
valid problem, it took the Linux community something less
than a week (if memory serves -- something like 3 days?)
to come up with a runtime patch which scanned all
applications at runtime for the security risk.  This was a
very high tech solution to a very threatening computer
security problem which "endangered" everyone who had an
Intel computer.  Whereas, Microsoft took months to release
a patch, and SUN microsystems I believe took even longer
to patch their version of unix.  Open source took days,
and commercial entities took months (not even willing to
admit there was a problem).

Keeping all this in mind, how would I build melamine
detecting "yogurt" in my garage right now? I mean a
solution which is cheap (less than $0.50 per use), stand-
alone, and usable by an 8 year old, so that the non-bio
savvy masses can test their own oreo cookies before
dunking them into soy milk,  Shouldn't open source bio
heads be able to get a working device validated in less
than 3 months?  (BTW, if precursors etc to melamine needs
detecting, then the device should do that as well.)

A simple problem.  At least from the applications angle.