LANL Announce Live Pathogens Detect Breakthrough

Jan 28, 2013

Los Alamos National Laboratory researchers have developed a technique for quick detection of live pathogens in the field.

The Los Alamos Monitor reports (http://bit.ly/10YgYkw) that the advance could prove to be a game-changer of being able to rapidly identify the source of food-borne illnesses such as E. coli.

LANL's new method eliminates the need for laboratory culture and speeds the process. The technique relies on bacteria being critically dependent upon the key nutrient iron. The bacteria synthesize and release sequestering agents, called siderophores, into their environment to bind iron tightly for subsequent uptake. This process occurs only in live, intact bacteria.

Current detection and diagnostic techniques are inadequate in major public health emergencies, such as outbreaks of food-borne illness.