Scientists develop fast-working biosensor

Feb 23, 2006

University of Rochester Medical Center scientists have demonstrated a new technology that accurately and rapidly detects the meat-spoiling and sometimes dangerous E. coli bacteria. The unique technology uses a protein from the suspect bacteria as part of the sensing system that also includes a silicon chip and a digital camera.

The journal Biosensors and Bioelectronics published an article on the technology in its February issue. Benjamin Miller, Ph.D., an associate professor of dermatology at the Medical Center, is the lead author of the article.

"We've developed a very inexpensive technology that can detect an infectious agent," said Miller, who is part of the university's Center for Future Health "It's clearly faster and cheaper than any competing technology. This is another step on the way to point-of-care diagnostics."

The technology potentially could detect any biological entity, Miller said. A physician someday, for example, could use the technology in his office to confirm a streptococcal infection in a patient with a sore throat.

The Rochester research team calls the technology "arrayed imaging reflectometry." The system utilizes a silicon chip that is made so that laser light reflected off the chip is invisible unless the target bacteria are present.

The target described in the Biosensors and Bioelectronics article is the bacteria Escherichia coli.

A protein from the bacteria, Translocated Intimin Receptor or Tir, is placed on the chip. The Tir can be seen as a "molecular harpoon," Miller said. The E. coli sends out the harpoon into a cell. Once it is in the cell, the Tir then binds with an E. coli protein called Intimin. A similar process occurs between the Tir placed on the chip and any E. coli in the sample being tested. The binding of the probe and the bacteria alters the surface of the chip. A digital camera image of the chip captures the changes for analysis and confirmation of detection.

Traditional methods of detection of bacteria can take days. "This takes as much time as it takes for a snapshot," Miller said.

The scientists currently are defining the sensitivity levels of the technology, previously called reflective interferometry, and extending the system to other biological targets.

Source: University of Rochester Medical Center

Explore further: The stapes of a neanderthal child points to the anatomical differences with our species

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Engineer pursues biological solar power

Feb 11, 2015

A Binghamton University engineering researcher designed a biological solar cell that's a million times more effective than current technology. Preliminary data on Seokheun "Sean" Choi's next advancement is ...

Line dancing bacteria on a chip (w/ Video)

Nov 10, 2014

By changing the direction of a magnetic field, so-called magneto-tactic bacteria are able to make a full U-turn. They can be taught line dancing in this way, inside the tiny micro channels of a lab on a chip. ...

Recommended for you

Destroyed Mosul artefacts to be rebuilt in 3D

Mar 27, 2015

It didn't take long for the scientific community to react. Two weeks after the sacking of the 300 year-old Mosul Museum by a group of ISIS extremists went viral on Youtube, researchers from the ITN-DCH, IAPP ...

Boys plagiarise more than girls at school

Mar 27, 2015

Research by the University of the Balearic Islands has analysed the phenomenon of academic plagiarism among secondary school students. The study, published in the journal Comunicar, confirms that this practi ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.