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: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/anie.201100477/fullFor more information, please contact:
Veronica McGuire | EurekAlert!
Designed proteins to treat muscular dystrophy
29.06.2017 | Universität Basel
Funding of Collaborative Research Center developing nanomaterials for cancer immunotherapy extended
28.06.2017 | Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz
An international team of scientists has proposed a new multi-disciplinary approach in which an array of new technologies will allow us to map biodiversity and the risks that wildlife is facing at the scale of whole landscapes. The findings are published in Nature Ecology and Evolution. This international research is led by the Kunming Institute of Zoology from China, University of East Anglia, University of Leicester and the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research.
Using a combination of satellite and ground data, the team proposes that it is now possible to map biodiversity with an accuracy that has not been previously...
Heatwaves in the Arctic, longer periods of vegetation in Europe, severe floods in West Africa – starting in 2021, scientists want to explore the emissions of the greenhouse gas methane with the German-French satellite MERLIN. This is made possible by a new robust laser system of the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT in Aachen, which achieves unprecedented measurement accuracy.
Methane is primarily the result of the decomposition of organic matter. The gas has a 25 times greater warming potential than carbon dioxide, but is not as...
Hydrogen is regarded as the energy source of the future: It is produced with solar power and can be used to generate heat and electricity in fuel cells. Empa researchers have now succeeded in decoding the movement of hydrogen ions in crystals – a key step towards more efficient energy conversion in the hydrogen industry of tomorrow.
As charge carriers, electrons and ions play the leading role in electrochemical energy storage devices and converters such as batteries and fuel cells. Proton...
Scientists from the Excellence Cluster Universe at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich have establised "Cosmowebportal", a unique data centre for cosmological simulations located at the Leibniz Supercomputing Centre (LRZ) of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences. The complete results of a series of large hydrodynamical cosmological simulations are available, with data volumes typically exceeding several hundred terabytes. Scientists worldwide can interactively explore these complex simulations via a web interface and directly access the results.
With current telescopes, scientists can observe our Universe’s galaxies and galaxy clusters and their distribution along an invisible cosmic web. From the...
Temperature measurements possible even on the smallest scale / Molecular ruby for use in material sciences, biology, and medicine
Chemists at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) in cooperation with researchers of the German Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing (BAM)...
19.06.2017 | Event News
13.06.2017 | Event News
13.06.2017 | Event News
29.06.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering
29.06.2017 | Life Sciences
29.06.2017 | Seminars Workshops