Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

New Ultrasensitive Assay Detects Most Poisonous Substance Known

Date:
May 2, 2008
Source:
Public Library of Science
Summary:
Scientists have developed a new ultrasensitive assay to detect botulinum neurotoxin. The toxin is one of the most poisonous substances known that can cause life-threatening disease, and is considered a major potential bioterrorism threat agent.

Scientists at City of Hope and the California Department of Public Health have developed a new ultrasensitive assay to detect botulinum neurotoxin. The toxin is one of the most poisonous substances known that can cause life-threatening disease, and is considered a major potential bioterrorism threat agent.

Botulinum neurotoxin is produced by the bacterium Clostridium botulinum. When ingested, the toxin disables nerve function and can result in paralysis and even death. Botulism normally results when a person eats food tainted with C. botulinum bacteria or if a wound is infected by the bacterium. Infants, whose digestive systems are not yet fully developed, also are susceptible to the disease if the bacterium gains a foothold in their intestinal tract.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention identify botulinum neurotoxin as one of six "maximum threat" bioterrorism agents due to its potency, lethality and ease of production and transport. One gram of botulinum toxin could kill more than 1 million people, according to a 2001 study in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

"The new test is at least ten thousand times more sensitive and produces results much faster than the current detection method for botulinum neurotoxin," said Markus Kalkum, Ph.D., assistant professor, Division of Immunology, City of Hope, and lead researcher in the study. "Wide use of the new assay would improve food safety and food processing technology, speed up and improve the diagnosis and treatment of human disease, advance the development of novel therapeutics, and greatly enhance the country's ability to detect and defend against a bioterrorism attack."

The collaborative research team developed a test that is less expensive, faster and easier to perform than current testing options. They achieved this through the use of microscopic beads and special photochemicals that glow under ultraviolet light to achieve a heightened level of sensitivity. The microscopic beads are coated with antibodies to the botulinum neurotoxin and then mixed with the liquefied sample to be tested. The antibodies latch on to any botulinum neurotoxin molecules present in the solution and are then used to convert a special chemical into a fluorescent dye that glows in the dark when illuminated with blue or ultraviolet light. The new assay works well in liquid foods such as milk and carrot juice, and in blood serum.

The testing method has possible application in diagnosing other diseases. Researchers are investigating the potential use of antibodies for different diseases to expand the scope of the test.

Journal reference: Authors of the study include Kalkum; Karine Bagramyan, Ph.D., research fellow, Division of Immunology, City of Hope; and Jason Barash, C.L.S., M.T. (ASCP), and Stephen Arnon, M.D., both from the Infant Botulism Treatment and Prevention Program, California Department of Public Health. PLoS One. (http://www.plosone.org/doi/pone.0002041).

Funding to develop the new assay was provided by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases through its biodefense network partner the Pacific South West Regional Center of Excellence.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Public Library of Science. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Public Library of Science. "New Ultrasensitive Assay Detects Most Poisonous Substance Known." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 2 May 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/05/080501091353.htm>.
Public Library of Science. (2008, May 2). New Ultrasensitive Assay Detects Most Poisonous Substance Known. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 28, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/05/080501091353.htm
Public Library of Science. "New Ultrasensitive Assay Detects Most Poisonous Substance Known." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/05/080501091353.htm (accessed August 28, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Mini Pacemaker Has No Wires

Mini Pacemaker Has No Wires

Ivanhoe (Aug. 27, 2014) Cardiac experts are testing a new experimental device designed to eliminate major surgery and still keep the heart on track. Video provided by Ivanhoe
Powered by NewsLook.com
After Cancer: Rebuilding Breasts With Fat

After Cancer: Rebuilding Breasts With Fat

Ivanhoe (Aug. 27, 2014) More than 269 million women are diagnosed with breast cancer each year. Many of them will need surgery and radiation, but there’s a new simple way to reconstruct tissue using a patient’s own fat. Video provided by Ivanhoe
Powered by NewsLook.com
Blood Clots in Kids

Blood Clots in Kids

Ivanhoe (Aug. 27, 2014) Every year, up to 200,000 Americans die from a blood clot that travels to their lungs. You’ve heard about clots in adults, but new research shows kids can get them too. Video provided by Ivanhoe
Powered by NewsLook.com
Radio Waves Knock out Knee Pain

Radio Waves Knock out Knee Pain

Ivanhoe (Aug. 27, 2014) Doctors have used radio frequency ablation or RFA to reduce neck and back pain for years. But now, that same technique is providing longer-term relief for patients with severe knee pain. Video provided by Ivanhoe
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins