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|Raytheon developing portable "Friend or Foe" system to identify harmful bacteria before they cause harm|
Under the DARPA Friend or Foe program,
"Population growth, global travel, climate change—all of these factors increase the risk of exposure to unfamiliar bacteria," said
The screening process begins with collecting and isolating a single bacterium in a tiny cube with a porous membrane. Sensor arrays in the cube make initial measurements on respiration, consumption of specific nutrients and metabolite production. Suspect bacteria is then extracted and exposed to synthetic substances that mimic human tissues to test for pathogenicity.
"To get a reliable risk assessment, we need to understand not just the bacteria's genetic makeup, or genotype, but how it functions - its phenotype," said Adler. "We're looking at ways to subject the bacteria to a gauntlet of behavior screenings so we can determine its ability to cause disease."
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