Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

NIST, Army researchers pave the way for anthrax spore standards

18.04.2008
Researchers from the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and the U.S. Army Dugway (Utah) Proving Ground have developed reliable methods based on DNA analysis to assess the concentration and viability of anthrax spores after prolonged storage. The techniques and data are essential steps in developing a reliable reference standard for anthrax detection and decontamination.

Bacillus anthracis, the bacterium that causes anthrax, has been a centuries-old threat to human health. In 2001, it was used as a letter-borne terrorist weapon that killed five Americans. Since the tenacious bacterium can survive for decades in a stable spore state, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has been working with NIST to develop anthrax spore reference materials. These materials could be used as controls in laboratory studies of anthrax, to calibrate spore detection equipment and to assess the efficiency of spore decontamination methods.

Because sample stability is a key requirement for reference materials, NIST and Army researchers recently compared different methods for measuring the concentration, biological activity and stability of laboratory-grade Bacillus anthracis spores under different storage conditions. Bacillus anthracis (Sterne), a harmless vaccine strain, was used in the study. The results of the research will be published in an upcoming issue of the Journal of Applied Microbiology.*

Working with samples that had been stored up to 2 1/2 years, the research team used two classic microbiological techniques to quantify the Bacillus anthracis concentrations: counting spores under a microscope and counting the bacterial colonies that grow after the spores are spread on a nutrient surface and germinate. The latter yields valuable data on the biological activity of the samples; however, only viable cells are counted and counts may be underestimated if cell clumping occurs. A better approach is to measure the amount of genetic material present in the sample. This method not only measures the DNA extracted from viable anthrax spores but also DNA in solution from damaged spores, cell debris and spore fragments—giving a truer measure of the source of DNA in the samples. Additionally, many of the new instruments available for rapid detection of anthrax spores are based on DNA markers, so it is important to accurately measure the DNA content of the reference samples that will be used to test and calibrate these devices.

... more about:
»Anthrax »Army »BACILLUS »DNA »Spore »anthracis »concentration

Traditional methods for extracting DNA from Bacillus anthracis spores are too harsh to produce material suitable for reliable measurements. To overcome this obstacle, the team developed an extraction technique that used chemicals and enzymes to disrupt intact spores into releasing their DNA in a relatively pure state.

The NIST-Army study showed that laboratory-grade Bacillus anthracis spores in suspension maintained their viability and did not clump when stored for up to 900 days. The classical method for counting spores yielded comparable results to the DNA measurements used to determine spore concentrations. The results demonstrate that research quality spores can be stored for long periods of time and still maintain their important properties, proving that uniform and consistent reference materials are possible.

* J.L. Almeida, B. Harper and K.D. Cole. Bacillus anthracis spore suspensions: determination of stability and comparison of enumeration techniques. Journal of Applied Microbiology, 2008.

Michael E. Newman | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.nist.gov

Further reports about: Anthrax Army BACILLUS DNA Spore anthracis concentration

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Small but ver­sat­ile; key play­ers in the mar­ine ni­tro­gen cycle can util­ize cy­anate and urea
10.12.2018 | Max-Planck-Institut für Marine Mikrobiologie

nachricht Carnegie Mellon researchers probe hydrogen bonds using new technique
10.12.2018 | Carnegie Mellon 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: Researchers develop method to transfer entire 2D circuits to any smooth surface

What if a sensor sensing a thing could be part of the thing itself? Rice University engineers believe they have a two-dimensional solution to do just that.

Rice engineers led by materials scientists Pulickel Ajayan and Jun Lou have developed a method to make atom-flat sensors that seamlessly integrate with devices...

Im Focus: Three components on one chip

Scientists at the University of Stuttgart and the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) succeed in important further development on the way to quantum Computers.

Quantum computers one day should be able to solve certain computing problems much faster than a classical computer. One of the most promising approaches is...

Im Focus: Substitute for rare earth metal oxides

New Project SNAPSTER: Novel luminescent materials by encapsulating phosphorescent metal clusters with organic liquid crystals

Nowadays energy conversion in lighting and optoelectronic devices requires the use of rare earth oxides.

Im Focus: A bit of a stretch... material that thickens as it's pulled

Scientists have discovered the first synthetic material that becomes thicker - at the molecular level - as it is stretched.

Researchers led by Dr Devesh Mistry from the University of Leeds discovered a new non-porous material that has unique and inherent "auxetic" stretching...

Im Focus: The force of the vacuum

Scientists from the Theory Department of the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) at the Center for Free-Electron Laser Science (CFEL) in Hamburg have shown through theoretical calculations and computer simulations that the force between electrons and lattice distortions in an atomically thin two-dimensional superconductor can be controlled with virtual photons. This could aid the development of new superconductors for energy-saving devices and many other technical applications.

The vacuum is not empty. It may sound like magic to laypeople but it has occupied physicists since the birth of quantum mechanics.

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

New Plastics Economy Investor Forum - Meeting Point for Innovations

10.12.2018 | Event News

EGU 2019 meeting: Media registration now open

06.12.2018 | Event News

Expert Panel on the Future of HPC in Engineering

03.12.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Small but ver­sat­ile; key play­ers in the mar­ine ni­tro­gen cycle can util­ize cy­anate and urea

10.12.2018 | Life Sciences

New method gives microscope a boost in resolution

10.12.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

Carnegie Mellon researchers probe hydrogen bonds using new technique

10.12.2018 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>