Bioactivity presents new opportunities for paper
VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland has developed a method of using
printing technology to produce simple tests related to health, well-being and
the environment. VTT has demonstrated the efficacy of the method by printing a
haemoglobin test, i.e. manufactured paper that reveals whether a given sample
VTT printed the paper with antibodies that react to the sample. The test
result can be read in the form of a line, for example, which either does or
does not appear depending on the sample – just like in the pregnancy tests
already familiar to consumers. It is also possible to print instructional
images or text, for example, either on or alongside the test.
paper test can be used to test quickly and easily for the presence of a given
substance. The test can be adapted to different purposes by exchanging the
identifying antibody printed on the paper for another, for example. The test’s
subject may be many different types of liquid or substances soluble in water.
paper can be manufactured using normal printing equipment. However, the
delicate biomolecules require different handling and storage procedures to
those followed with normal printing colours.
aims of the study are to apply new technology to different samples, and to
identify new areas of application. The technology also presents new
opportunities in terms of product design in comparison with the traditional
diagnostic tests,” comments Tomi Erho, who is in charge of the Bioactive Paper
project. He also reminds that paper as a biodegradable natural material is a
splendid substrate for multiple applications.
well-suited for mass production can be created by combining bio, paper and
print technology. The technology can be applied in rapid diagnostics in the
areas of health, wellbeing and the environment, or to bring additional
features to packaging or labelling. The technology also presents new
possibilities for ensuring product authenticity and impeding falsification.
result is part of a series of projects over the period 2007–2011 aimed at
developing bioactive paper. The projects are funded primarily by Tekes, the
Finnish Funding Agency for Technology and Innovation. VTT’s partners in R&D
work have been the Aalto University, Åbo Akademi University and the University
of Lapland. The commercial partners in funding and in the management team have
been UPM-Kymmene Corporation, Tervakoski Oy, BASF, Orion Diagnostica Oy,
Hansaprint Ltd, Oy Medix Biochemica Ab, Starcke Securities and Eagle Filter
of a bioactive paper. The picture shows haemoglobin tests printed on
paper, the left half of which indicates that the sample does not contain
detectable amounts of haemoglobin. Two bars running across the right side of
the test means the sample does contain a detectable amount of haemoglobin.