Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Is it alive or dead? How to measure the thermal signatures of single cells and assess their biological activity

Date:
June 28, 2013
Source:
American Institute of Physics (AIP)
Summary:
To the ancients, probing the philosophical question of how to distinguish the living from the dead centered on the "mystery of the vital heat." To modern microbiology, this question was always less mysterious than it was annoying -- researchers have known that biological processes should produce thermal signatures, even within single cells, but nobody ever knew how to measure them. Now, a group of mechanical engineers in Korea have discovered a way to measure the "thermal conductivity" of three types of cells taken from human and rat tissues and placed in individual micro-wells.

To the ancients, probing the philosophical question of how to distinguish the living from the dead centered on the "mystery of the vital heat." To modern microbiology, this question was always less mysterious than it was annoying -- researchers have known that biological processes should produce thermal signatures, even within single cells, but nobody ever knew how to measure them.

Related Articles


Now, a group of mechanical engineers from Pohang University of Science and Technology in Korea have discovered a way to measure the "thermal conductivity" of three types of cells taken from human and rat tissues and placed in individual micro-wells. They showed that they could detect uniform heat signatures from the various cells and measured significant difference between dead and living ones, suggesting a new way to probe cells for biological activity.

A lone cell is fantastically small, often only about 10 microns across (10 millionths of a meter), and this size has thwarted thermodynamic measurements of single cells. Writing in the journal Applied Physics Letters, a team led by Dongsik Kim and Jaesung Park describes how their novel nanoscale biosensing technique can measure the thermal conductivity of a single cell.

"In the short-term, this biosensing technique can be used to measure cell viability," said Kim. "In the long-term, we hope to refine it to develop a non-invasive, rapid means for early diagnosis of diseases such as cancer based on differences in the thermal properties of cells."

While the fundamental heat signatures the researchers detected are not exactly what the ancient philosophers imagined, measuring them may answer more mysteries than they could have dreamed.

The article, "Thermal conductivity of single biological cells and relation with cell viability" by Byoung Kyoo Park, Namwoo Yi, Jaesung Park, and Dongsik Kim appears in the journal Applied Physics Letters.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by American Institute of Physics (AIP). Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Byoung Kyoo Park, Namwoo Yi, Jaesung Park, Dongsik Kim. Thermal conductivity of single biological cells and relation with cell viability. Applied Physics Letters, 2013; 102 (20): 203702 DOI: 10.1063/1.4807471

Cite This Page:

American Institute of Physics (AIP). "Is it alive or dead? How to measure the thermal signatures of single cells and assess their biological activity." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 28 June 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/06/130628102927.htm>.
American Institute of Physics (AIP). (2013, June 28). Is it alive or dead? How to measure the thermal signatures of single cells and assess their biological activity. ScienceDaily. Retrieved January 26, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/06/130628102927.htm
American Institute of Physics (AIP). "Is it alive or dead? How to measure the thermal signatures of single cells and assess their biological activity." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/06/130628102927.htm (accessed January 26, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Plants & Animals News

Monday, January 26, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Water Fleas Prepare for Space Voyage

Water Fleas Prepare for Space Voyage

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Jan. 26, 2015) Scientists are preparing a group of water fleas for a unique voyage into space. The aquatic crustaceans, known as Daphnia, can be used as a miniature model for biomedical research, and their reproductive and swimming behaviour will be tested for signs of stress while on board the International Space Station. Jim Drury went to meet the team. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Husky Puppy Plays With Ferret

Husky Puppy Plays With Ferret

Rumble (Jan. 26, 2015) It looks like this 2-month-old Husky puppy and the family ferret are going to be the best of friends. Look at how much fun they&apos;re having together! Credit to &apos;Vira&apos;. Video provided by Rumble
Powered by NewsLook.com
Florida Might Legalize Black Bear Hunting

Florida Might Legalize Black Bear Hunting

Newsy (Jan. 24, 2015) A string of black bear attacks has Florida officials considering lifting the ban on hunting the animals to control their population. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ebola Killing Large Portion Of Ape Population

Ebola Killing Large Portion Of Ape Population

Newsy (Jan. 23, 2015) Experts estimate Ebola has wiped out one-third of the world&apos;s gorillas and chimpanzees. Video provided by Newsy
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:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

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