Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Disposable sensor uses DNA to detect hazardous uranium ions

16.02.2007
Researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have developed a simple, disposable sensor for detecting hazardous uranium ions, with sensitivity that rivals the performance of much more sophisticated laboratory instruments.

The sensor provides a fast, on-site test for assessing uranium contamination in the environment, and the effectiveness of remediation strategies, said Yi Lu, a chemistry professor at Illinois and senior author of a paper accepted for publication in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, and posted on its Web site.

“A unique feature of our uranium sensor is that it contains a small piece of DNA, the same basic building blocks of our genes,” said Lu, who also is a researcher at the university’s Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology, and at the Center of Advanced Materials for the Purification of Water with Systems. “Our sensor combines the high metal ion selectivity of catalytic DNA with the high sensitivity of fluorescence detection.”

While most DNA is double stranded, the catalytic DNA Lu’s research group uses has a single strand region that can wrap around like a protein. In that single strand, the researchers fashion a specific binding site – a kind of pocket that can only accommodate the metal ion of choice.

... more about:
»DNA »catalytic »hazardous »uranium

In this case, the researchers chose to detect uranyl, the most soluble species of uranium ion and the one that poses the greatest threat to human life.

To search for the unique sequence of DNA that could distinguish uranyl from other metal ions, the researchers used a combinatorial approach called in vitro selection. Simple and cost-effective, the selection process can sample a very large pool of DNA (up to 1,000 trillion molecules), amplify the desired sequence by the polymerase chain reaction, and introduce mutations to improve performance.

Lu, with collaborators at Illinois, the Construction Engineering Research Laboratory, Oregon State University and Oak Ridge National Laboratory, assembled the uranium sensor and tested it on soils containing varying amounts of uranium. The presence of uranyl causes catalytic cleavage of the DNA and release of the fluorophore, resulting in a dramatic increase of fluorescence intensity. With a detection sensitivity of 11 parts per trillion, the disposable sensor rivaled the performance of much more sophisticated laboratory instruments.

In 2000, Lu’s research group used the same catalytic DNA process to create a simple but effective lead sensor. “This latest success demonstrates that our methodology can be used to make cost-effective sensors for other hazardous metals, as well, with extremely high sensitivity and selectivity,” Lu said. “We can also construct sensor arrays that detect and quantify many metal ions simultaneously.”

James E. Kloeppel | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.uiuc.edu

Further reports about: DNA catalytic hazardous uranium

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Unique genome architectures after fertilisation in single-cell embryos
30.03.2017 | IMBA - Institut für Molekulare Biotechnologie der Österreichischen Akademie der Wissenschaften GmbH

nachricht Transport of molecular motors into cilia
28.03.2017 | Aarhus University

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: A Challenging European Research Project to Develop New Tiny Microscopes

The Institute of Semiconductor Technology and the Institute of Physical and Theoretical Chemistry, both members of the Laboratory for Emerging Nanometrology (LENA), at Technische Universität Braunschweig are partners in a new European research project entitled ChipScope, which aims to develop a completely new and extremely small optical microscope capable of observing the interior of living cells in real time. A consortium of 7 partners from 5 countries will tackle this issue with very ambitious objectives during a four-year research program.

To demonstrate the usefulness of this new scientific tool, at the end of the project the developed chip-sized microscope will be used to observe in real-time...

Im Focus: Giant Magnetic Fields in the Universe

Astronomers from Bonn and Tautenburg in Thuringia (Germany) used the 100-m radio telescope at Effelsberg to observe several galaxy clusters. At the edges of these large accumulations of dark matter, stellar systems (galaxies), hot gas, and charged particles, they found magnetic fields that are exceptionally ordered over distances of many million light years. This makes them the most extended magnetic fields in the universe known so far.

The results will be published on March 22 in the journal „Astronomy & Astrophysics“.

Galaxy clusters are the largest gravitationally bound structures in the universe. With a typical extent of about 10 million light years, i.e. 100 times the...

Im Focus: Tracing down linear ubiquitination

Researchers at the Goethe University Frankfurt, together with partners from the University of Tübingen in Germany and Queen Mary University as well as Francis Crick Institute from London (UK) have developed a novel technology to decipher the secret ubiquitin code.

Ubiquitin is a small protein that can be linked to other cellular proteins, thereby controlling and modulating their functions. The attachment occurs in many...

Im Focus: Perovskite edges can be tuned for optoelectronic performance

Layered 2D material improves efficiency for solar cells and LEDs

In the eternal search for next generation high-efficiency solar cells and LEDs, scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory and their partners are creating...

Im Focus: Polymer-coated silicon nanosheets as alternative to graphene: A perfect team for nanoelectronics

Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are less stable. Now researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have, for the first time ever, produced a composite material combining silicon nanosheets and a polymer that is both UV-resistant and easy to process. This brings the scientists a significant step closer to industrial applications like flexible displays and photosensors.

Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

International Land Use Symposium ILUS 2017: Call for Abstracts and Registration open

20.03.2017 | Event News

CONNECT 2017: International congress on connective tissue

14.03.2017 | Event News

ICTM Conference: Turbine Construction between Big Data and Additive Manufacturing

07.03.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

'On-off switch' brings researchers a step closer to potential HIV vaccine

30.03.2017 | Health and Medicine

Penn studies find promise for innovations in liquid biopsies

30.03.2017 | Health and Medicine

An LED-based device for imaging radiation induced skin damage

30.03.2017 | Medical Engineering

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>