Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Clemson researchers create biosensors to protect nation’s food and water supplies

25.06.2002


Unlike nuclear terrorism, bioterrorism won’t begin with a bang. It will begin with a whimper — a child feeling the effects of food poisoning.



E.coli, Listeria, Campylobacter, Salmonella are not weapons of mass destruction, they are weapons of mass disruption. Experts say it’s not a matter of if but when terrorists will attempt a strike at our food or water supply. If they succeed, hundreds, perhaps thousands, of Americans will become sick, and some among the youngest and oldest victims could die.

An early warning detection system is urgently needed. At Clemson University, researchers are developing a biosensor that will make contaminated food glow in the dark.


A team of chemists, microbiologists and food scientists have devised a way to tether luminescent molecules to food pathogens, such as E.coli, and Salmonella. Using nanotechnology, the researchers are building a new screening method to protect our food supply.

"What’s needed is a simple, low cost way to rapidly detect pathogens at the site of contamination, not having to wait for lab results," said food science professor and team leader Paul Dawson. "What we have worked on are particles that are luminescent, providing a way to flash an alarm to hold the food for closer examination."

Chemists used a similar technique to identify worms in pecans. The worms would absorb a chemical that would glow under UV or "black" light. Dawson, along with professors Ya-Ping Sun, Xiuping Jiang, Feng Chen and James C. Acton, have miniaturized the process by applying nanotechnology, the science of building structures at molecular and atomic levels. It is not just the science of the very small, it is a technology, enabling the practical application of that knowledge by scientists who investigate arranging atoms to create innovations that can be seen only with electron microscopes.

Nature does a great job of putting together molecules and other nanoscale components in complex patterns, Dawson said. His team is working on a single molecule process, creating a "protein key" that would "key and lock" with another molecule and creating a bio-alarm, when key and lock fit. Most pathogens and toxins have a unique "lock," and by attaching the matching "key" on the surface of a luminescing nanoparticle, a nanosensor can be created. The sensor signal can be rapidly detected and be a first line of defense in identifying food or water that has been contaminated.

"The nanoparticle can move into crevices in the food source, where a pathogen could be hidden from microscopic view," Dawson said. "The particle’s extremely small size increases the odds that the antibody and antigen will link, enabling the sensor to give off a glow. The more connections, the greater the glow."

Derived from the Greek word for midget, "nano" means a billionth part. A nanometer (abbreviated nm), for example, is one billionth of a meter. An atom measures about one-third of a nanometer. The diameter of a human hair is about 200,000 nm.

Peter Kent | EurekAlert!

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht Tracking movement of immune cells identifies key first steps in inflammatory arthritis
23.01.2017 | Massachusetts General Hospital

nachricht Team discovers how bacteria exploit a chink in the body's armor
20.01.2017 | University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Quantum optical sensor for the first time tested in space – with a laser system from Berlin

For the first time ever, a cloud of ultra-cold atoms has been successfully created in space on board of a sounding rocket. The MAIUS mission demonstrates that quantum optical sensors can be operated even in harsh environments like space – a prerequi-site for finding answers to the most challenging questions of fundamental physics and an important innovation driver for everyday applications.

According to Albert Einstein's Equivalence Principle, all bodies are accelerated at the same rate by the Earth's gravity, regardless of their properties. This...

Im Focus: Traffic jam in empty space

New success for Konstanz physicists in studying the quantum vacuum

An important step towards a completely new experimental access to quantum physics has been made at University of Konstanz. The team of scientists headed by...

Im Focus: How gut bacteria can make us ill

HZI researchers decipher infection mechanisms of Yersinia and immune responses of the host

Yersiniae cause severe intestinal infections. Studies using Yersinia pseudotuberculosis as a model organism aim to elucidate the infection mechanisms of these...

Im Focus: Interfacial Superconductivity: Magnetic and superconducting order revealed simultaneously

Researchers from the University of Hamburg in Germany, in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Aarhus in Denmark, have synthesized a new superconducting material by growing a few layers of an antiferromagnetic transition-metal chalcogenide on a bismuth-based topological insulator, both being non-superconducting materials.

While superconductivity and magnetism are generally believed to be mutually exclusive, surprisingly, in this new material, superconducting correlations...

Im Focus: Studying fundamental particles in materials

Laser-driving of semimetals allows creating novel quasiparticle states within condensed matter systems and switching between different states on ultrafast time scales

Studying properties of fundamental particles in condensed matter systems is a promising approach to quantum field theory. Quasiparticles offer the opportunity...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Sustainable Water use in Agriculture in Eastern Europe and Central Asia

19.01.2017 | Event News

12V, 48V, high-voltage – trends in E/E automotive architecture

10.01.2017 | Event News

2nd Conference on Non-Textual Information on 10 and 11 May 2017 in Hannover

09.01.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Tracking movement of immune cells identifies key first steps in inflammatory arthritis

23.01.2017 | Health and Medicine

Electrocatalysis can advance green transition

23.01.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

New technology for mass-production of complex molded composite components

23.01.2017 | Process Engineering

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>