Nanomechanical detection of methamphetamines and designer drugs
The widespread use of methamphetamines and related designer drugs is a major challenge for our society, with significant impact on health and social security.
In the journal Angewandte Chemie, Italian researchers have now introduced a new method of detection that allows the entire class of methamphetamine drugs to be detected in water. A probe equipped with synthetic receptor molecules responds to a grouping of atoms that is present in all methamphetamines. The chemical variations of the different designer drugs have no effect.
A large variety of analytical methods for the detection of methamphetamines have been developed, most of which are slow to yield results or require complicated operations such as labor-intensive sample preparation. The identification of designer drugs presents a further challenge.
These compounds are based on an existing drug whose chemical structure has been slightly altered. Although the effect of the drug is not changed by these modifications, they do cause serious problems for current detection methods, which are optimized for the identification of specific substances and usually cannot recognize related drugs with a different structure. The demand for a sensitive, selective method for the rapid detection of methamphetamines and designer drugs in the field is correspondingly high.
Scientists from the Universities of Parma, Brescia, and Catania have now successfully met this challenge. Their new method is based on molecular recognition and a nanomechanical detector. The team led by Paolo Bergese and Enrico Dalcanale grafted concave molecules called cavitands to a cantilever made of silicon.
Such cantilevers are used as probes for atomic force microscopes. An array of such grafted cantilevers is used to probe the surface of an aqueous sample. If a cavitand comes into contact with a methamphetamine molecule, the molecule is bound. This molecular recognition is transformed into a mechanical response, which is converted into a deflection of the cantilever.
The cavitands were designed so that a single molecule reliably “recognizes” the methylamino group common to all methamphetamine-based drugs by way of a synergistic set of weak interactions. The chemical variations inherent in designer drugs do not interfere with the recognition by the synthetic receptor.
Other substances typically mixed with the drug, usually glucose or lactose, do not disturb the detection either. The researchers were able to demonstrate the effectiveness of their technique with a variety of methamphetamine-based substances as well as real samples from the street.
About the Author
Dr Enrico Dalcanale is Associate Professor of Industrial Chemistry at University of Parma and Scientific Director of the functional materials section of INSTM (Italian Interuniversity Consortium of Materials Science and Technology, www.instm.it). His expertise is supramolecular chemistry applied to materials science, with main focus on sensing and responsive polymeric materials.
Author: Enrico Dalcanale, Università degli Studi di Parma (Italy), http://www.dalcanalegroup.it/enricos-cv/
Title: Cavitand-Grafted Silicon Microcantilevers as a Universal Probe for Illicit and Designer Drugs in Water
Angewandte Chemie International Edition, Permalink to the article: http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/anie.201404774
Enrico Dalcanale | Angewandte Chemie
New technology helps ID aggressive early breast cancer
01.07.2016 | University of Michigan Health System
In times of great famine, microalgae digest themselves
01.07.2016 | Alfred-Wegener-Institut, Helmholtz-Zentrum für Polar- und Meeresforschung
Since the completion of the human genome an important goal has been to elucidate the function of the now known proteins: a new molecular method enables the investigation of the function for thousands of proteins in parallel. Applying this new method, an international team of researchers with leading participation of the Technical University of Munich (TUM) was able to identify hundreds of previously unknown interactions among proteins.
The human genome and those of most common crops have been decoded for many years. Soon it will be possible to sequence your personal genome for less than 1000...
3D printing revolutionized the manufacturing of complex shapes in the last few years. Using additive depositing of materials, where individual dots or lines...
R2D2, a joint project to analyze and development high-TRL processes and technologies for manufacture of flexible organic light-emitting diodes (OLEDs) funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) has been successfully completed.
In contrast to point light sources like LEDs made of inorganic semiconductor crystals, organic light-emitting diodes (OLEDs) are light-emitting surfaces. Their...
High resolution rotational spectroscopy reveals an unprecedented number of conformations of an odorant molecule – a new world record!
In a recent publication in the journal Physical Chemistry Chemical Physics, researchers from the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter...
Strands of cow cartilage substitute for ink in a 3D bioprinting process that may one day create cartilage patches for worn out joints, according to a team of engineers. "Our goal is to create tissue that can be used to replace large amounts of worn out tissue or design patches," said Ibrahim T. Ozbolat, associate professor of engineering science and mechanics. "Those who have osteoarthritis in their joints suffer a lot. We need a new alternative treatment for this."
Cartilage is a good tissue to target for scale-up bioprinting because it is made up of only one cell type and has no blood vessels within the tissue. It is...
30.06.2016 | Event News
28.06.2016 | Event News
09.06.2016 | Event News
01.07.2016 | Earth Sciences
01.07.2016 | Medical Engineering
01.07.2016 | Life Sciences