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22 February 2002 SERS of whole-cell bacteria and trace levels of biological molecules
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Proceedings Volume 4577, Vibrational Spectroscopy-based Sensor Systems; (2002)
Event: Environmental and Industrial Sensing, 2001, Boston, MA, United States
Through its several orders of magnitude signal enhancement over normal Raman, surface-enhanced Raman spectroscopy (SERS) provides an opportunity to extend the benefits of vibrational spectroscopy to trace level detection. SERS in particular holds great potential for biological sensing due to the weak Raman bands of water and the reduction in fluorescence backgrounds from interactions of the analyte with the metal SERS substrate. This work examines the trace level detection of biological molecules and oligomers such as amino acids, peptides, and oligonucleotides as well as the detection of whole cell bacteria. The SERS substrates employed are electrochemically roughened gold. The biological molecules show well-resolved and intense bands that are an effective spectral signature; these bands also persist in corresponding oligomeric compounds. Spectra from whole cell bacteria have been obtained for several species, including gram-positive and gram-negative strains. Viable and nonviable cells have also been examined and significant spectral differences are observed. The results show the potential for using SERS as an analytical tool for the identification of biological molecules and microorganisms with applications in biological agent detection, food and water monitoring, and the search for signs of extraterrestrial life.
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Andrew A. Guzelian, James M. Sylvia, James A. Janni, Susan L. Clauson, and Kevin M. Spencer "SERS of whole-cell bacteria and trace levels of biological molecules", Proc. SPIE 4577, Vibrational Spectroscopy-based Sensor Systems, (22 February 2002); doi: 10.1117/12.455736;

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