Allonnia, a waste management company utilizing biology, announced today that it has discovered a protein that can be used as a PFAS biosensor.
PFAS is a family of synthetic compounds used globally to make products that resist heat, oil, stains, grease and water. The compounds break down very slowly over time and are recognized as an ‘emerging contaminant’ with widespread concerns about their characteristics of persistence, bioaccumulation, toxicity, mobility, and impacts on human health.
The need for a field deployable sensor that can detect PFAS in real time to parts per trillion levels – as low as a drop within an Olympic sized swimming pool – is pertinent for site investigations, water monitoring and future risk mitigation. Without an accurate, quantifiable field sensor there is a high likelihood that sites will need multiple testing rounds to check for PFAS that could take months at a time.
Allonnia has been working towards this milestone for two years, exploring a number of biological paths and has now applied to patent their findings. The company’s protein can increase the efficiency, time, and cost of ensuring enough samples are taken at one time and that nothing is missed.
“There is currently no PFAS sensor available that can detect PFAS contaminants at these low levels in real time. Allonnia’s biosensor development marks a milestone for the industry and a perfect example of how biology can transform our view of what is possible,” said Dayal Saran, VP and head of research at Allonnia. “The amount of work our team has put in is significant. It’s so wonderful to see the progress and continue to move our roadmap forward.”
Allonnia says that it is now working to collaborate with a hardware partner to bring the Gen 1 protein to the field by the end of year. In the meantime, the team will continue to increase the sensitivity of the protein and its specificity to PFAS in real world groundwater.
“We are excited to respond to the overwhelming need for better contaminant detection tools with this breakthrough technology,” said Nicole Richards, CEO, Allonnia. “This is just one of the first steps towards our goal of creating an optimized, sustainable and comprehensive solution for PFAS degradation.”
The team continues to work on a number of other biological paths and products to be rolled out in the future. Allonnia recently launched a PFAS remediation technology in 2022 with EPOC Enviro for Surface Active Foam Fractionation (SAFF ®) to further assist in removing long and short chain PFAS from water.