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Moscow diagnostic firm to research using nanotechnology to improve animal tests

A Moscow-based diagnostic test company has received a $150,000 federal grant to study the use of nano particles in pregnancy blood tests for animals.

The money comes in a SBIR (small business innovation research) grant to BioTracking LLC, a 14-person company that currently provides 24-hour turnaround pregnancy tests for cattle and other ruminants.

The grant will allow BioTracking to test the use of nanosprings, very small particles, developed by another Moscow company, GoNano Technologies.

Nanosprings are being introduced into more biological and chemical applications because they offer an expanded, large surface area tucked into tiny curled materials. Some have compared the structure of nanosprings to tiny, intricately twisted phone cords.

Alex Sasser, the associate executive officer of BioTracking, said the grant will determine how to adapt the pregnancy test to a wider range of options, including virus tests, microbial tests and other options.

Another possible goal, said Larry Branen, BioTracking's strategic officer, is to shorten the pregnancy test time from 24 hours to one hour. "This test might allow that. That's the hope," Branen said.

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The Spokesman-Review business team follows economic development in Spokane and the Inland Northwest.