Magna Parva develops novel first responder field laboratory
13 September 2011
A completely new type of hand portable laboratory suite is being shown for the first time by Magna Parva, a Midlands-based company that specialises in engineering for hostile environments. Dubbed a ‘laboratory in a box’, the Exolab system enables repeatable, rapid, low cost preparation of a wide range of solid or liquid samples in field locations such as military theatre operations, as well as forensic scenes and general environmental monitoring.
Exolab is a portable system, easily carried by one person, and offers the benefits of faster, lower cost analysis. Expected to open up the use of sophisticated analytical techniques in more difficult locations, it integrates all of the sample preparation processes necessary for complex measurement (eg for DNA analysis or immunoassays - processes normally requiring highly trained personnel using specialist laboratory facilities).
The modular system can be adapted according to the sample preparation required. Stages can be plugged in or out and samples re-routed through the system, whose stages might typically include reagent addition, mixing, thermal cycling, centrifugation and incubation.
Exolab was developed by Magna Parva in collaboration with the University of Leicester and
stemmed from work carried out with the University's Space Research Centre, on the Life Marker Chip Instrument intended for use in space missions.
Specific applications being developed for Exolab include medical (disease detection analysis and DNA testing), environmental (soil and water sampling), defence (biological and chemical warfare detection) and agricultural (soil sampling).