You can’t see them, or smell them or taste them.
They can be in our water and in our food, multiplying so rapidly that conventional testing methods for detecting pathogens such as E.coli, Salmonella and Listeria come too late for the tens of thousands of Canadians who suffer the ill effects of these deadly bacteria.
Biochemist Yingfu Li and his research team have developed a simple test that can swiftly and accurately identify specific pathogens using a system that will ‘hunt’ for bacteria, identifying their harmful presence before they have a chance to contaminate our food and water.
Like any living thing, bacteria have their own spoor, leaving behind DNA trails of bacterial ‘droppings’. Li tracks these metabolic by-products with molecular beacons – little lighthouses on a molecular scale that actually light up when they detect the DNA sequence left behind.
Li created a DNAzyme sensor that will be able to identify any bacteria, utilizing a method that doesn’t require the steps and specialized equipment typically used to identify whether or not harmful bacteria are present.
“Current methods of foodborne bacterial detection take time. The five days it takes to detect listeria, for example, can translate into an outbreak that costs lives. We have developed a universal test that uses less complex procedures but still generates precise and accurate results,” says Li, a Canada Research Chair in Directed Evolution of Nucleic Acids.
Li’s fluorescent test system was highlighted in Angewandte Chemie International Edition, a prestigious weekly chemistry journal that ranks among the best for the original research it publishes. Li’s paper, co-authored with lab members Monsur Ali, Sergio Aguirre and Hadeer Lazim, was designated a ‘hot paper’ by Angewandte’s editors for its “importance in a rapidly evolving field of current interest”.
“McMaster researchers are known for their ability to provide solutions to problems that impact the public’s well-being. The test that Professor Li has developed will help safeguard the health of Canadians, and supply industry with a reliable means to bring safe food products to consumers and reduce their time to market,” said Mo Elbestawi, vice-president, research and international affairs.
Li’s research was funded by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC) and the Sentinel Bioactive Paper Network.For a photo and full copy of the paper, visit:
Veronica McGuire | Newswise Science News
Novel mechanisms of action discovered for the skin cancer medication Imiquimod
21.10.2016 | Technische Universität München
Second research flight into zero gravity
21.10.2016 | Universität Zürich
Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.
"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...
In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.
A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...
By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.
"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...
COMPAMED has become the leading international marketplace for suppliers of medical manufacturing. The trade fair, which takes place every November and is co-located to MEDICA in Dusseldorf, has been steadily growing over the past years and shows that medical technology remains a rapidly growing market.
In 2016, the joint pavilion by the IVAM Microtechnology Network, the Product Market “High-tech for Medical Devices”, will be located in Hall 8a again and will...
'Ferroelectric' materials can switch between different states of electrical polarization in response to an external electric field. This flexibility means they show promise for many applications, for example in electronic devices and computer memory. Current ferroelectric materials are highly valued for their thermal and chemical stability and rapid electro-mechanical responses, but creating a material that is scalable down to the tiny sizes needed for technologies like silicon-based semiconductors (Si-based CMOS) has proven challenging.
Now, Hiroshi Funakubo and co-workers at the Tokyo Institute of Technology, in collaboration with researchers across Japan, have conducted experiments to...
14.10.2016 | Event News
14.10.2016 | Event News
12.10.2016 | Event News
21.10.2016 | Health and Medicine
21.10.2016 | Information Technology
21.10.2016 | Materials Sciences