Magnetic nanoparticles detect and remove harmful bacteria

November 19, 2007

Researchers in Ohio report the development of magnetic nanoparticles that show promise for quickly detecting and eliminating E. coli, anthrax, and other harmful bacteria. In laboratory studies, the nanoparticles helped detect a strain of E. coli within five minutes and removed 88 percent of the target bacteria, the scientists say. Their study is scheduled for the Nov. 7 issue of the Journal of the American Chemical Society.

Xuefei Huang and colleagues point out that ongoing incidents of produce contamination and the threat of bioterrorist attacks have created an urgent need for quicker, more effective ways to detect bacterial decontamination. To meet that need, they developed a “magnetic glyco-nanoparticle (MGNP),” a unique compound that combines magnetic nanoparticles with sugars.

Sugars (or carbohydrates) on cell surfaces are used by many bacteria to attach to their host cells in order to facilitate infection. The scientists exposed a group of E. coli bacteria to the sugar-coated nano-magnets to mark the microbes so they could be easily identified and removed by a magnetic device. The researchers also used the particles to distinguish between three different E. coli strains.

The study represents “the first time that magnetic nanoparticles have been used to detect, quantify, and differentiate E. coli cells,” the researchers state.

Source: American Chemical Society

Explore further: Team uses phage-enhanced nanoparticles to kill bacteria that foul water treatment systems

Related Stories

Detecting lethal diseases with rust and sand

January 31, 2011

The next big thing in medical diagnostics could be minutes particles of rust, iron oxide, coated with the material from which sand is formed, silicon dioxide. These magnetic nanoparticles, a mere 29 to 230 nanometers across, ...

Nanosilver for therapy and diagnostics

May 12, 2011

(PhysOrg.com) -- Nowadays, everyday life would be inconceivable without nanotechnology. It is also ever-present in medical technology – both in therapy and diagnostics. Researchers from ETH Zurich have now prepared silver ...

Nano-style sheets may aid health, shield ecosystem

August 13, 2015

Microscopically, "nanomembrane" sheets made from nylon resemble a tangled web. The tiny iron oxide particles on the fiber surfaces can help clean toxic chemicals from water, but if the particles get separated from the web, ...

Recommended for you

Fast computer control for molecular machines

January 19, 2018

Scientists at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have developed a novel electric propulsion technology for nanorobots. It allows molecular machines to move a hundred thousand times faster than with the biochemical processes ...

1 comment

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

BrianH
not rated yet Jun 26, 2009
Edit note: you blew this phrase: "more effective ways to detect bacterial decontamination." Surely 'contamination' is what they want to detect!

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.