4 May 2012 Detection of Bacillus spores within 15 minutes by surface-enhanced Raman spectroscopy
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Since the distribution of Bacillus anthracis causing spores through the US Postal System, there has been a persistent fear that biological warfare agents (BWAs) will be used by terrorists against our military abroad and our civilians at home. Despite the substantial effort to develop BWA analyzers, they remain either too slow, produce high falsealarm rates, lack sensitivity, or cannot be fielded. Consequently there remains a need for a portable analyzer that can overcome these limitations as expressed at the 2011 Biological Weapons Convention. To meet this need we have been developing a sample system that selectively binds BWAs and produce surface-enhanced Raman (SER) spectra using portable Raman spectrometers. Here we describe the use of a short peptide ligand functionalized on silver nanoparticles to selectively capture Bacillus cereus spores (a surrogate of B. anthracis) and their subsequent detection by SER spectroscopy. This technique was used to specifically detect B. cereus spores over closely related species like B. subtilis belonging to the same genus within 15 minutes. Sensitivity of the method was demonstrated by detecting 104 B. cereus spores/mL of water. The technology, once developed should prove invaluable for rapid monitoring of BWAs, which will immensely help first responders and emergency personnel in implementing appropriate counter measures.
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Chetan Shende, Chetan Shende, Frank Inscore, Frank Inscore, Hermes Huang, Hermes Huang, Stuart Farquharson, Stuart Farquharson, Atanu Sengupta, Atanu Sengupta, } "Detection of Bacillus spores within 15 minutes by surface-enhanced Raman spectroscopy", Proc. SPIE 8358, Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear, and Explosives (CBRNE) Sensing XIII, 83580G (4 May 2012); doi: 10.1117/12.920854; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.920854

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