We report characteristic changes in fluorescence of amyloid-binding dyes Thioflavin T (TfT), pinacyanol (PIN) and related dyes, caused by their interaction with suspended Bacillus spore cultures (B. subtilis, B thuringiensis). The gain in TfT emission in the presence of spores allowed their immediate detection in aqueous suspensions, with a sensitivity limit of < 105 spores per ml. The spectroscopic signatures are consistent with a large number of binding sites for the two dyes on spore coats. The possible structural relationship of these dye binding loci with characteristic motifs (β-stacks) of amyloid deposits and other misfolded protein formations suggests new designs for probing biocontamination and also for clinical studies of non-microbial human pathogens (e.g., amyloid-related protein aggregates in prion-related transmissible encephalopathies or in Alzheimer's disease). Also reported is a special screening technique that was designed and used herein for calibration of new detection probes and assays for spore detection. It employed spectroscopic interactions between the candidate amyloid stains and poly(vinylpyrrolidone)-coated colloid silica (Percoll) nanoparticles that also display remarkable parallelism with the corresponding dye-amyloid and dye-spore reactivities. Percoll may thus find new applications as a convenient non-biological structural model mimicking the putative probe-targeted motifs in both classes of bioanalytes. These findings are important in the design of new probes and assays for important human pathogens (i.e. bacterial spores and amyloidogenic protein aggregates).