Washington, D.C. – One of the most lethal substances in the world –botulism – can be detected using special systems in about 20–25minutes. Now, researchers at DOE’s Pacific Northwest NationalLaboratory can detect its presence in five minutes, using the lab’ssuccessful Biodetection Enabling Analyte Delivery System, or BEADScombined with optical detection.
The detection system includes three critical components. First,BEADS isolates the toxin from environmental samples. Next, an antibodyis used to purify and concentrate the pathogen or toxin to enableaccurate and sensitive detection. Finally, a second antibody, called areporter antibody, labeled with a fluorescent dye or a fluorescentquantum dot binds to a different region on the toxin or pathogen. Thefluorescence of the quantum dot is measured on the bead and canquantify the concentration of the toxin.
The BEADS system has been commercially licensed to a few companies.In addition to detecting botulinum, the system can be tailored todetect multiple pathogens or toxins, such as E. coli, salmonella andricin, simultaneously.
Pacific Northwest National Laboratory researcher Heather Edbergpresented her results at the 230th national meeting of the AmericanChemical Society, in Washington, D.C.
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