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science fair project

Postby jackiecg » Tue Oct 09, 2012 6:47 pm

My daughter is doing a continuation project on Lactose Intolerance-- topic Can Biosensors detect Lactose Intolerance? The answer is yes. We have lots of research to use. Our problem we are unable to make an electrochemical sensor due to materials used and or we just are not gettiing information on the right sources. Anyway we have a 9 question survey with human involvement of about 50 individuals as a sampling of population most susceptible to Lactose Intolerance. We plan to have at least one parent of the student obtain a lactose tolerance Blood test and obtain the results to add to project.
Our question will we be able to show the research and show the actual engineering design process to be considered a survey project ? Leaving out the actual prototype but include information on how to acquire a prototype as a reference. Please help we are stumped on what to do and my daughter so wants to do well at the State Science Fair.

Thank You-- for your time and consideration in this matter
Posts: 1
Joined: Tue Oct 09, 2012 6:29 pm
Occupation: parent
Project Question: student project: Can biosensors detect lactose intolerance?
Project Due Date: november 2,2012
Project Status: I am conducting my research

Re: science fair project

Postby drowningfish » Wed Oct 10, 2012 10:07 am


I think you guys have a very good project idea that has very good practical applications. However, making your own biosensor may be expensive and difficult because it is a pretty intricate and precise instrument. Although I am not familiar with bio-sensors for lactose intolerance, in an article published very recently, they discuss a pretty novel invention that can detect lactose intolerance by using electrodes that can catalyze oxidation of hydrogen and methane.

Currently, lactose intolerance can be determined using two main methods. The first of these is the "Lactose Tolerance Test" where blood is taken from a patient and the glucose level tested. A drink of lactose is given and, over the next 2-3 hours, blood samples are taken to see how much glucose is in the blood; this is used to determine the extent to which lactase is present in the digestive system (note that this test is not used on young children, but rather an "Acid Stool Test" is performed).

The second test is the "Hydrogen Breath Test" in which the concentration of hydrogen in exhaled breath is determined following ingestion of lactose. This test exploits the fact that normal colonic flora metabolise lactose into hydrogen and short chain fatty acids. The hydrogen is absorbed from the intestines, carried through the blood stream to the lungs and exhaled. Beforehand, the patient must fast for 12 hours, then they are required to drink a solution containing lactose (usually 25 grams). A sample of breath is then collected every 15 minutes over a 2 hour period. The amount of hydrogen in the breath is monitored as the solution is digested. An increase in hydrogen in breath of 20 ppm (from the baseline as measured before the lactose test) indicates that the subject has improper digestion of lactose and so is medically recognized as being `lactose intolerant`.

A novel electrochemical sensor has now been developed which meets these needs and which may be used in the detection of various components in exhaled breath, in particular in detecting gases which are susceptible to electrochemical oxidation, such as hydrogen and/or methane.

In one aspect the invention thus provides an electrochemical sensor comprising an electrode assembly which comprises at least two electrodes, one of said electrodes comprising a metal species capable of catalyzing the oxidation of hydrogen and/or methane.

Read more:

As you can see, it is probably not very practical to make your own sensor. Instead, maybe you can go in a different direction with what you have. You may want to think of a way to rephrase your science project question based on what information you are able to gather from your surveys. For example, maybe something like "How can biosensors/ electrochemical sensors improve current procedures for detecting lactose intolerance?" or "Why might biosensors be a better alternative to current procedures for detecting lactose intolerance?" or something else along those lines. Those type of questions will allow your daughter to analyze her data results by thinking about how effective certain procedures are and how might new technology improve them.

I hope my suggestions help and good luck with the project. If you have further questions, please don't hesitate to ask.
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Joined: Wed Aug 18, 2010 4:10 pm
Occupation: Student: College Third Year
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Project Status: Not applicable

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