Finding the best material composition among thousands of possibilities is like looking for a needle in a haystack. An international team is combining computer simulations and high-throughput experiments to do this. Catalysts consisting of at least five chemical elements could be the key to ... more
Detecting bacteria with fluorescent nanosensors
Luminous carbon nanotubes detect pathogens – and are quick and easy to use
Researchers from Bochum, Göttingen, Duisburg and Cologne have developed a new method for detecting bacteria and infections. They use fluorescent nanosensors to track down pathogens faster and more easily than with established methods. A team headed by Professor Sebastian Kruß, formerly at University of Göttingen, now at Ruhr-Universität Bochum (RUB), describes the results in the journal Nature Communications, published online on 25 November 2020.
Traditional methods of detecting bacteria require tissue samples to be taken and analysed. Sebastian Kruß and his team hope to eliminate the need to take samples by using tiny optical sensors to visualise pathogens directly at the site of infection.
Fluorescence changes in the presence of bacterial molecules
The sensors are based on modified carbon nanotubes with a diameter of less than one nanometre. If they are irradiated with visible light, they emit light in the near-infrared range (wavelength of 1,000 nanometres and more), which is not visible to humans. The fluorescence behaviour changes when the nanotubes collide with certain molecules in their environment. Since bacteria secrete a characteristic mix of molecules, the light emitted by the sensors can thus indicate the presence of certain pathogens. In the current paper, the research team describes sensors that detect and differentiate harmful pathogens that are associated with, for example, implant infections.
“The fact that the sensors work in the near-infrared range is particularly relevant for optical imaging, because in this range there are far fewer background signals that can corrupt the results,” says Sebastian Kruß, who heads the Functional Interfaces and Biosystems Group at RUB and is a member of the Ruhr Explores Solvation Cluster of Excellence (Resolv). Since light of this wavelength penetrates deeper into human tissue than visible light, this could enable bacteria sensors read out even under wound dressings or on implants.
Additional areas of application are conceivable
“In the future, this could constitute the foundation for optical detection of infections on intelligent implants, as sampling would no longer be required. It would thus allow the healing process or a possible infection to be detected quickly, resulting in improved patient care,” says Robert Nißler, lead author of the study from the University of Göttingen. “The possible areas of application are not limited to this,” adds Kruß. “For example, improved rapid diagnosis of blood cultures in the context of sepsis is also conceivable in the future.”
- bacteria detection
- carbon nanotubes
Using a blood test, a German-Dutch research team has predicted the risk of Alzheimer’s disease in people who were clinically diagnosed as not having Alzheimer’s disease but who perceived themselves as cognitively impaired (Subjective Cognitive Declined, SCD). The researchers analyzed blood ... more
Analyzing nanoparticles individually is a challenge precisely because they are so small. A new technique using electron microscopy and a robotic arm could make the process much easier. Precious metal-free nanoparticles could serve as powerful catalysts in the future, for example for hydroge ... more
- 1Detect neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's by a simple eye scan?
- 2Fluorescence microscopy at highest spatial and temporal resolution
- 3The Mechanics of the Immune System
- 4Resolve Biosciences Launches New Era in Single-Cell Spatial Analysis
- 5Quick look under the skin
- 6New ion trap to create the world's most accurate mass spectrometer
- 7How does your computer smell?
- 8Clocking electron movements inside an atom
- 9Sartorius closes 2020 with strong growth
- 10A clear path to better insights into biomolecules
- Simple to use device rapidly detects infectious diseases
- Fundamental regulation mechanism of proteins discovered
- Eppendorf achieves record revenue and best result in the company’s history in 2020
- New dimension for efficient laboratory work
- Researchers investigate structural changes in snap-frozen proteins