Nima’s antibody-based chemistry was developed by MIT scientists to be faster, cheaper, and usable right at the dinner table. Nima is optimised to detect 10 parts per million of peanut protein and above.
PPM is an abbreviation for "parts per million.”
This measurement is the mass of a chemical or contaminate per unit volume of water. One ppm is equivalent to the absolute fractional amount multiplied by one million. A better way to think of ppm is to visualise putting four drops of ink in a 55-gallon barrel of water and mixing it thoroughly. This procedure would produce an ink concentration of 1 ppm. Here is a video that helps give other examples of ppm concentrations.
How the Nima test capsule works
Each Nima capsule contains a test strip preloaded with our antibodies. If the protein we are looking for is present in the food being tested, the antibodies will bind to the protein and present a signal change on the strip that is detected by the Nima electronics and processing algorithm.Liquid extraction buffer
When a certain protein is present in food, the protein molecules are trapped inside other food molecules surrounding them. In order to detect the protein in food, the protein molecules need to be isolated and extracted from the rest of the food molecules.
The Nima team designed an extraction buffer solution that is capable of breaking apart the bonds between the protein and other food molecules, leaving the protein itself in a liquid solution, which reacts to the strip.Grinding and mixing mechanism
When testing food for specific protein, there are several mechanical steps necessary to deliver a result. Screwing the cap shut begins a grinding process on the food to break the food into small particles to increase the amount of surface area exposed to the buffer solution.
After the food is ground, the final twist of the cap will expose the food to the extraction buffer solution. Nima uses a motor to mix the food and the buffer in the capsule. Once the mixing is complete, the solution passes onto the test strip loaded with antibodies, where the chemical reaction begins.
As the test strip develops, an electronic sensor and associated algorithm detect the test result. Reading the result electronically eliminates the need for a trained operator to be evaluating the results (as is required with other lab-format tests) and reduces the likelihood of misinterpreting results (as often happens with at-home pregnancy tests). The algorithm is improved and updated via Bluetooth connection through the Nima mobile app. The algorithm can be updated by downloading the latest firmware updates from the app.
The Nima system has been rigorously tested at the Nima lab, in the field and via third parties.
The Nima chemistry team developed a pair of antibodies specifically for the detection of peanut. There are existing peanut antibodies on the market, but none of them were sufficient to meet the speed, sensitivity and specificity requirements that we needed for Nima. The Nima 20B10 and 16B1 antibodies bind to a peanut protein called Arah3. Although not the most antigenic, it is abundant in all types of peanut and is more stable under processing conditions such as heat due to roasting.
The Nima Research & Development team conducted thousands of tests across numerous foods to confirm the sensitivity of the device. In addition to in house testing, Nima also enlisted the help of several third party labs. The results were as follows:
*Please Note - It is important to always use your normal precautions alongside using your Nima sensor. Be sure to always call ahead to any establishment that you are going to regarding your allergies, talk to waiting staff and make them aware of your allergy, read labelling and always carry your allergy medication with you.
Could you be allergic to the foods you're eating? This easy to use allergy test covers a food mix including IgE testing for Wheat, Milk, Egg, Peanut and Soybean.