Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

UC Riverside Researchers Publish Paper on Botulism Detection System

05.12.2003


Vladimir Parpura


Device Allows Early Detection of Botulism Toxins and More Effective Treatment

Researchers at the University of California, Riverside have developed a device that speeds the detection of a virulent strain of botulism neurotoxin from hours or days to minutes, making treatment or vaccination more effective.

Botulinum neurotoxin B, one of five strains that are known to be toxic to humans, is targeted in the paper that appeared in the Nov. 11 issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The paper’s authors included UC Riverside Professor of Cell Biology and Neuroscience Vladimir Parpura and Umar Mohideen, a professor of physics, both part of the Center for Nanoscale Science and Engineering at UC Riverside; graduate student Wei Liu; staff researcher Vedrana Montana; and Edwin Chapman, a professor of physiology at the University of Wisconsin, Madison.



Given its rapid detection and small size, the device, known as a micromechanosensor, will find applications in medicine, in the war against bioterrorism or in the food industry, Parpura said.

“Of course a good deal of testing needs to be done first,” Parpura said. “What we’ve done is shown proof that the principle works.”

The principle, he added, works much like a fishing pole and line. A protein-coated bead at the end of a microscopic cantilever comes in contact with the neurotoxin, which cuts through the protein strands connecting the two, much like a fish would cut through a fishing line. The bead’s separation causes the cantilever to vibrate, announcing the neurotoxin’s presence. While effective, the process is not yet ready for practical application.

“Right now the issue is that it’s linked to an atomic-force microscope, an expensive piece of equipment, which means it cannot be used on a widespread basis,” Parpura said.

However, he holds out hope that the process could soon be put into wider practice to detect one of the most potent toxins known to man. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta list botulism as one of the six most dangerous bioterrorism threats. Other such bio-threats include anthrax, plague and smallpox.

“The important thing to note is that the technique is very general and, in the future, can be done without the use of the atomic-force microscope. This also means that it will find uses in fields outside (medical) toxin sensors,” said Mohideen, adding that the process can be used in food and water quality applications.

The key to the process, however, is its timeliness, according to the researchers. Antitoxin vaccinations can work only if applied quickly, before the onset of symptoms. Symptoms of food-borne botulism intoxication frequently take from 12 to 36 hours to develop, according to the CDC.

“When you think that we’ve cut the detection time from a few hours or a couple of days, down to a few minutes, that’s what’s important,” Parpura said. “The shorter the detection time, the more time you have to treat people and that makes a great deal of difference when dealing with this neurotoxin.”

“We are working on approaches to further reduce the detection time and substantially improve the sensitivity,” Mohideen added.

Botulism, while rare in the United States, is considered a medical emergency in which roughly 10 percent of those afflicted die. Those who survive may take weeks or months to recover and frequently undergo intensive hospital care with extensive use of ventilators.

Ricardo Duran | UC Riverside
Further information:
http://www.newsroom.ucr.edu/cgi-bin/display.cgi?id=707

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht Investigators may unlock mystery of how staph cells dodge the body's immune system
22.09.2017 | Cedars-Sinai Medical Center

nachricht Monitoring the heart's mitochondria to predict cardiac arrest?
21.09.2017 | Boston Children's Hospital

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: The pyrenoid is a carbon-fixing liquid droplet

Plants and algae use the enzyme Rubisco to fix carbon dioxide, removing it from the atmosphere and converting it into biomass. Algae have figured out a way to increase the efficiency of carbon fixation. They gather most of their Rubisco into a ball-shaped microcompartment called the pyrenoid, which they flood with a high local concentration of carbon dioxide. A team of scientists at Princeton University, the Carnegie Institution for Science, Stanford University and the Max Plank Institute of Biochemistry have unravelled the mysteries of how the pyrenoid is assembled. These insights can help to engineer crops that remove more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere while producing more food.

A warming planet

Im Focus: Highly precise wiring in the Cerebral Cortex

Our brains house extremely complex neuronal circuits, whose detailed structures are still largely unknown. This is especially true for the so-called cerebral cortex of mammals, where among other things vision, thoughts or spatial orientation are being computed. Here the rules by which nerve cells are connected to each other are only partly understood. A team of scientists around Moritz Helmstaedter at the Frankfiurt Max Planck Institute for Brain Research and Helene Schmidt (Humboldt University in Berlin) have now discovered a surprisingly precise nerve cell connectivity pattern in the part of the cerebral cortex that is responsible for orienting the individual animal or human in space.

The researchers report online in Nature (Schmidt et al., 2017. Axonal synapse sorting in medial entorhinal cortex, DOI: 10.1038/nature24005) that synapses in...

Im Focus: Tiny lasers from a gallery of whispers

New technique promises tunable laser devices

Whispering gallery mode (WGM) resonators are used to make tiny micro-lasers, sensors, switches, routers and other devices. These tiny structures rely on a...

Im Focus: Ultrafast snapshots of relaxing electrons in solids

Using ultrafast flashes of laser and x-ray radiation, scientists at the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics (Garching, Germany) took snapshots of the briefest electron motion inside a solid material to date. The electron motion lasted only 750 billionths of the billionth of a second before it fainted, setting a new record of human capability to capture ultrafast processes inside solids!

When x-rays shine onto solid materials or large molecules, an electron is pushed away from its original place near the nucleus of the atom, leaving a hole...

Im Focus: Quantum Sensors Decipher Magnetic Ordering in a New Semiconducting Material

For the first time, physicists have successfully imaged spiral magnetic ordering in a multiferroic material. These materials are considered highly promising candidates for future data storage media. The researchers were able to prove their findings using unique quantum sensors that were developed at Basel University and that can analyze electromagnetic fields on the nanometer scale. The results – obtained by scientists from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics, the Swiss Nanoscience Institute, the University of Montpellier and several laboratories from University Paris-Saclay – were recently published in the journal Nature.

Multiferroics are materials that simultaneously react to electric and magnetic fields. These two properties are rarely found together, and their combined...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

“Lasers in Composites Symposium” in Aachen – from Science to Application

19.09.2017 | Event News

I-ESA 2018 – Call for Papers

12.09.2017 | Event News

EMBO at Basel Life, a new conference on current and emerging life science research

06.09.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Rainbow colors reveal cell history: Uncovering β-cell heterogeneity

22.09.2017 | Life Sciences

Penn first in world to treat patient with new radiation technology

22.09.2017 | Medical Engineering

Calculating quietness

22.09.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>