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Researchers at Queen's University Belfast have developed a highly innovative new enzyme biomarker test that has the potential to indicate diseases and bacterial contamination saving time, money and possibly lives.
The test, developed by scientists at the Institute for Global Food Security at Queen's, can detect enzyme markers of disease known as proteases in humans, animals and food products.
Proteases - Microorganism - Growth - Progression - Diseases
Proteases are crucial for microorganism growth and are responsible for the progression of many diseases.
Levels of proteases can be highly elevated in the urine of patients with diabetic kidney disease, or at the sites of infected wounds. Similarly, in cows, an elevation of proteases in their milk can reveal diseases such as bovine mastitis, a type of mammary gland infection. In food, proteases produced by bacteria contaminated in meat and dairy products can lead to rancidity, as well as decreased shelf life and quality.
Protease - Detection - Methods - Scientists - Queen
Current protease detection methods are costly, time-consuming and are not always effective. Scientists at Queen's Institute for Global Food Security have developed a nanosensor which has resulted in sensitive, fast and cost effective protease detection in milk and urine.
Dr. Claire McVey, Queen's researcher and co-author on the study published in leading journal Nano Research, explains: "Not only is the test cheap to produce, but it can be used anywhere and is not reliant on laboratory conditions. Eliminating the need to carry out tests in a laboratory setting is life-changing. As well as being cost-effective, it means faster diagnosis."
Gold-nanoparticle - Nanosensor - Queen - Researchers - Proteases
The gold-nanoparticle based nanosensor devised by Queen's researchers indicates when proteases are present through a visible colour-change reaction. Gold nanoparticles are well known for their capability in speeding up the oxidization of a chemical called tetramethylbenzidine (TMB), visible through a vivid blue-colour formation.
When casein (a molecule present in milk) is added to gold nanoparticles, it surrounds the nanoparticles acting as a protective surface...
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