Field-portable Immunoassay Developed to Measure Uranium


Uranium is a common legacy waste contaminant at DOE sites. Because it can occur in several chemical forms, it is difficult to quantify the total at a site and differentiate between the uranium compounds. As part of the Natural and Accelerated Bioremediation Research (NABIR) program, Dr. Diane Blake of Tulane University has developed a sensor that can be used to identify the type of uranium compounds and quantify the uranium in the field. The sensor involves the use of monoclonal antibodies. These antibodies were joined with a fluorescent dye to allow quantification. The method was found to have a 10-1000 fold greater sensitivity when compared to more traditional approaches. Monoclonal antibodies have also been developed that recognize cadmium, cobalt, or lead. Dr. Blake’s NABIR research has been accepted for publication in the journals Analytical Chimica Acta, ImmunoAssays, and Biosensors and Bioelectronics. A prototype instrument has been developed in collaboration with Sapidyne Instruments, Inc. that is approximately the size of a “Palm Pilot” and allows an easy interface to a PC.