Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology News

JUN15 2018

Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology News (GEN) is the world's most widely read biotech publication. It provides the R&D community with critical information on the tools, technologies, and trends that drive the biotech industry.

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8 | JUNE 15, 2018 | Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology News | Gail Dutton Biomolecular contaminants dislike the spot- light, especially if it's an ultraviolet (UV) spot- light. So, biomolecular contaminants must really hate the intense glare from decontami- nation systems that use UV light-emitting di- odes (LEDs). One of these systems recently demonstrated that it can irreversibly inacti- vate RNase A—a pervasive contaminant in RNA sequencing and analysis labs. Decontamination systems are hardly the only systems taking advantage of UV LED technology. By incorporating UV LED tech- nology, chromatography/spectroscopy in- struments are sharpening their detection ca- pabilities, and sterilization systems are boost- ing their germicidal powers. All these UV LED systems are available from Phoseon Technology, a company that has a strong background in solid-state semi- conductor devices. Not long ago, Phoseon's UV LEDs were confined to industrial curing operations. Now these UV LEDs are pen- etrating the life sciences, replacing relatively inefficient UV lamps and eliminating the need for harsh chemicals and long-term heat treat- ments. The company's UV LEDs are even en- couraging UV visionaries to anticipate more ambitious applications. UV light in the UV-C frequency band, or "deep UV," has always had the ability to in- duce fluorescence in biological material. But now that UV-C light can be wielded so much more effectively thanks to UV LED technol- ogy, once impractical applications are looking more realistic. For example, label-free fluores- cence imaging, which would involve the exci- tation, detection, and possibly modification of molecules in tissues, is a near-term possibility in life sciences research. Diagnostic applica- tions, too, are attractive possibilities, although they will take a little longer to realize. A Bright Idea Back in 2002, Phoseon started supplying UV LEDs that were optimized for industrial curing the cross-linking of polymer chains in adhesives and coatings. Then Phoseon de- cided to use its core technology to bring the power, stability, and control that set it apart in the industrial application to life sciences. The apparent foray into the life sciences, which officially began in 2017, was actually the culmination of preparatory and analyti- cal work that stretched back to 2011. Although industrial curing and the life sciences are very different, they both stand to benefit from progress in UV technology. Traditional UV technologies rely on xenon, halogen, mercury, or deuterium light sourc- es. Those sources are relatively slow for de- contamination and generate excessive heat. "The UV lamps spark, and their output degrades over time," says Chad Taggard, vice president and general manager of Phos- eon's life sciences division. "They also re- quire high voltage." Many of the limitations of UV lamps can be overcome by UV LEDs, which are built on solid-state electronics and provide long-term consistency. "Intensity is the same from minute to minute, and from year to year," notes Jay Pasquantonio, Phoseon's strategy director. "It's the same years later as it was on the first day. That's important when you think about repeatability of pro- cess. We can provide more power in terms of UV intensity than anyone else, along with control and stability." Specifically, he says, Phoseon's solid-state Semiconductor Light Matrix (SLM™) tech- nology offers: • Inactivation of molecules (including enzymes) and microorganisms that previously could be inactivated only by chemicals or high heat. • Lower operating temperatures (up to 40°C vs. the 200°C of competing technologies). • Instant start-up. • A lifespan greater than 10,000 hours. "UV LED disinfection is much faster than other approaches," Pasquantonio asserts, pointing out that some items can be disin- fected within a few minutes versus the 30 or more the same disinfection would take with other technologies. "If we can make the lab workflow more productive, that's a win for our customers." Additionally, tunable wavelengths en- hance capabilities. For instance, the Phos- eon's KeyView solid-state detectors for chro- matography cover wavelengths of 210 to 800 nm, while new, deep UV technologies enable wavelengths of 215 nm and 220 nm to be used for protein and elemental analysis. Innovating at UV Speed Phoseon has developed a culture of con- tinuous innovation. The company encour- ages its scientists, engineers, and managers to embrace unrelenting change, and to antici- pate customers' needs for better and faster products. "We tend to be faster than our custom- ers," Taggard observes. "We have a disrup- tive technology, and we move quickly to de- liver solutions into the market. We want to go faster and faster." Intense, Cool, and Long-Lived, UV LEDs Outshine UV Lamps, May Brighten Imaging Applications Phoseon Technology's UV LEDs Detect and Disinfect On Your Radar The KeyPro decontamination system lets users decontaminate equipment just before adding the sample, reducing the opportunity for contamination. Because Phoseon's decontamination technology works in only a few minutes and leaves no residue, researchers save considerable time and money. Using the Phoseon UV LED technology, researchers inactivitated the pervasive contaminant RNase A, thus providing an alternative to chemical or thermal decontamination.

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