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Wearable 'Microbrewery' Could Protect People from Radiation Damage

Purdue University researchers have engineered yeast "microbreweries" within disposable badges made of freezer paper, aluminum, and tape. Adding a drop of water activates the yeast to show radiation exposure, as read by an electronic device. The disposable badge can help hospital lab workers better track their daily radiation exposure, and could be adapted for nuclear power plant workers and victims of nuclear disasters. The success of the badge lies in the quick and measurable response of yeast to radiation. The higher the radiation dose, the higher the percentage of yeast cells that die. Wetting the badge activates the cells that are still alive to eat glucose and release carbon dioxide – the same fermentation process responsible for brewing beer and making bread rise.