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On Farm Disease Diagnostics

The Future for Bovine Disease Diagnostics Lies with On-Farm Testing

Real Time BVD, IBR and Liverfluke Testing

Poor animal and welfare can be a major source of economic loss for Irish Farmers.  For example, Bovine viral diarrhoea (BVD) is one of the world's most costly bovine diseases with an estimated annual cost of €102 million to Irish farmers prior to the eradication scheme.  Other loss making illnesses include IBR, Liverfluke and Johne’s disease. Because of the highly contagious nature of these diseases, early identification and diagnosis is critical for herd protection to prevent costly outbreaks.  Current detection mechanisms rely on commercial laboratories which can be costly with significant wait-time for results. 

The availability of a cheap and effective on-Farm test, using milk or serum, would allow veterinarians and farmers to rapidly diagnose different diseases and allow them to  implement treatment early in order to prevent costly outbreaks. Tyndall National Institute in collaboration with our colleagues in Teagasc (Dr. Riona Sayers Moorepark) are using nanotechnology to  develop a cost-efficient nanowire chip sensor, to provide on-site disease testing in cows within 15 minutes. Our sensor works in a similar fashion to existing glucose tests for people with diabetes. We place a drop of blood or milk  from an animal on the sensor and get a positive or negative response for BVD – right there, on the farm.


  • Total test time <15 minutes
  • Suitable for both milk and serum samples
  • Up to 10 sensor channels to allow  testing of multiple disease simultaneously.
  • Control sensor correct for noise and drift

Core Team


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