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 Nanoparticles as a Solution against Antibiotic Resistance?
15.12.2017 | Friedrich-Schiller-Universität Jena

nachricht Plasmonic biosensors enable development of new easy-to-use health tests
14.12.2017 | Aalto University

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: First-of-its-kind chemical oscillator offers new level of molecular control

DNA molecules that follow specific instructions could offer more precise molecular control of synthetic chemical systems, a discovery that opens the door for engineers to create molecular machines with new and complex behaviors.

Researchers have created chemical amplifiers and a chemical oscillator using a systematic method that has the potential to embed sophisticated circuit...

Im Focus: Long-lived storage of a photonic qubit for worldwide teleportation

MPQ scientists achieve long storage times for photonic quantum bits which break the lower bound for direct teleportation in a global quantum network.

Concerning the development of quantum memories for the realization of global quantum networks, scientists of the Quantum Dynamics Division led by Professor...

Im Focus: Electromagnetic water cloak eliminates drag and wake

Detailed calculations show water cloaks are feasible with today's technology

Researchers have developed a water cloaking concept based on electromagnetic forces that could eliminate an object's wake, greatly reducing its drag while...

Im Focus: Scientists channel graphene to understand filtration and ion transport into cells

Tiny pores at a cell's entryway act as miniature bouncers, letting in some electrically charged atoms--ions--but blocking others. Operating as exquisitely sensitive filters, these "ion channels" play a critical role in biological functions such as muscle contraction and the firing of brain cells.

To rapidly transport the right ions through the cell membrane, the tiny channels rely on a complex interplay between the ions and surrounding molecules,...

Im Focus: Towards data storage at the single molecule level

The miniaturization of the current technology of storage media is hindered by fundamental limits of quantum mechanics. A new approach consists in using so-called spin-crossover molecules as the smallest possible storage unit. Similar to normal hard drives, these special molecules can save information via their magnetic state. A research team from Kiel University has now managed to successfully place a new class of spin-crossover molecules onto a surface and to improve the molecule’s storage capacity. The storage density of conventional hard drives could therefore theoretically be increased by more than one hundred fold. The study has been published in the scientific journal Nano Letters.

Over the past few years, the building blocks of storage media have gotten ever smaller. But further miniaturization of the current technology is hindered by...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

See, understand and experience the work of the future

11.12.2017 | Event News

Innovative strategies to tackle parasitic worms

08.12.2017 | Event News

AKL’18: The opportunities and challenges of digitalization in the laser industry

07.12.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Engineers program tiny robots to move, think like insects

15.12.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering

One in 5 materials chemistry papers may be wrong, study suggests

15.12.2017 | Materials Sciences

New antbird species discovered in Peru by LSU ornithologists

15.12.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>