Once fully developed, the new absorbent wipe, embedded with nanofibers containing antibodies to numerous biohazards, could be used by virtually anyone to rapidly uncover pathogens in meat packing plants, hospitals, cruise ships, airplanes and other commonly contaminated areas, the researchers say.
The materials for this new process, which is still being tested in the laboratory, were described today at the 232nd national meeting of the American Chemical Society, the world's largest scientific society.
"It's very inexpensive, it wouldn't require that someone be highly trained to use it, and it can be activated for whatever you want to find," said Margaret Frey, Ph.D., Lois and Mel Tukman assistant professor of textiles and apparel at Cornell. "So if you're working in a meat packing plant, for instance, you could swipe it across some hamburger and quickly and easily detect E. coli bacteria." If biohazards were detected, she added, the area could be scoured and re-tested to confirm the contaminants were destroyed.
In their experiments, Frey and her colleagues formed nanofibers with diameters between 100 nanometers and 2 microns (a human hair is about 80,000 nanometers wide). On these nanofibers, the researchers created platforms made of biotin, a B-vitamin and the protein streptavidin to hold the antibodies. The nanofibers, which are made of polyactide (PLA) - a polymer compound made from corn - can be used to make non-woven wipers or swabs. To reduce costs, the nanofibers also could be incorporated into conventional paper products.
"The fabric basically acts as a sponge that you can use to dip in a liquid or wipe across a surface," Frey said. "As you do that, antibodies in the fabric are going to selectively latch onto whatever pathogen that they match. Using this method we should, in theory, be able to quickly activate the fabric to detect whatever is the hazard of the week, whether it is bird flu, mad cow disease or anthrax."
For now, identifying the collected pathogens requires a separate analytical step. But Frey and colleagues are working on methods, such as color changes in the fabric, which would instantly identify the contaminant.
"We're probably still a few years away from having this ready for the real world," Frey said, "but I really believe there is a place for this type of product that can be used by people with limited training to provide a fast indication of whether a biohazard is present."
Michael Bernstein | EurekAlert!
Colorectal cancer risk factors decrypted
13.07.2018 | Max-Planck-Institut für Stoffwechselforschung
Algae Have Land Genes
13.07.2018 | Julius-Maximilians-Universität Würzburg
For the first time ever, scientists have determined the cosmic origin of highest-energy neutrinos. A research group led by IceCube scientist Elisa Resconi, spokesperson of the Collaborative Research Center SFB1258 at the Technical University of Munich (TUM), provides an important piece of evidence that the particles detected by the IceCube neutrino telescope at the South Pole originate from a galaxy four billion light-years away from Earth.
To rule out other origins with certainty, the team led by neutrino physicist Elisa Resconi from the Technical University of Munich and multi-wavelength...
For the first time a team of researchers have discovered two different phases of magnetic skyrmions in a single material. Physicists of the Technical Universities of Munich and Dresden and the University of Cologne can now better study and understand the properties of these magnetic structures, which are important for both basic research and applications.
Whirlpools are an everyday experience in a bath tub: When the water is drained a circular vortex is formed. Typically, such whirls are rather stable. Similar...
Physicists working with Roland Wester at the University of Innsbruck have investigated if and how chemical reactions can be influenced by targeted vibrational excitation of the reactants. They were able to demonstrate that excitation with a laser beam does not affect the efficiency of a chemical exchange reaction and that the excited molecular group acts only as a spectator in the reaction.
A frequently used reaction in organic chemistry is nucleophilic substitution. It plays, for example, an important role in in the synthesis of new chemical...
Optical spectroscopy allows investigating the energy structure and dynamic properties of complex quantum systems. Researchers from the University of Würzburg present two new approaches of coherent two-dimensional spectroscopy.
"Put an excitation into the system and observe how it evolves." According to physicist Professor Tobias Brixner, this is the credo of optical spectroscopy....
Ultra-short, high-intensity X-ray flashes open the door to the foundations of chemical reactions. Free-electron lasers generate these kinds of pulses, but there is a catch: the pulses vary in duration and energy. An international research team has now presented a solution: Using a ring of 16 detectors and a circularly polarized laser beam, they can determine both factors with attosecond accuracy.
Free-electron lasers (FELs) generate extremely short and intense X-ray flashes. Researchers can use these flashes to resolve structures with diameters on the...
13.07.2018 | Event News
12.07.2018 | Event News
03.07.2018 | Event News
13.07.2018 | Event News
13.07.2018 | Materials Sciences
13.07.2018 | Life Sciences