Confocal microscopy, fluorescence allow single-molecule detection for nucleic acid analytics

Researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Information Technology (FIT; Sankt Augustin, Germany) have developed a single-molecule detection device that analyzes ultra-small amounts of nucleic acid. The system, which employs confocal microscopy and fluorescence detection, can be used to identify biomarkers that are early indicators of a disease or allow forecasting the response to a therapy.

The new Single Molecule Detection Machine (SMDM) uses a Fraunhofer FIT-developed confocal microscope and fluorescence detection. Fluorescent markers are attached to biomolecules (for example, DNA, RNA, and proteins), and a laser is used to induce fluorescence. This detection mode is not only highly sensitive, but it can also produce a wide range of information about the type and behavior of the marked biomolecules.

The smallest molecule concentration detectable by the SMDM is 1 pg/µL (one trillionth of a gram per one millionth of a liter). The system can detect that one cube of sugar was dissolved in 3 million liters of water—roughly the amount of water contained in 1.2 Olympic swimming pools each 50 m long, 25 m wide, and 2 m deep. One cubic millimeter of this water would be enough to carry out the test.

In the Ribolution project, funded by Fraunhofer Zukunftsstiftung, the research team is currently using the SMDM for quality control in nucleic acid analytics, specifically to determine the mass concentration of nucleic acids with high sensitivity. Achieved sensitivity is several orders of magnitude higher than competing systems using UV absorption, the researchers claim. Better still, it helps reduce costs by minimizing sample consumption, they say.

The SMDM is also capable of measuring, with high sensitivity, the lengths of strands in nucleic acid mixtures. To determine distributions of lengths of strands, the research team developed an Open Micro-Electrophoresis Chip (OMEC) and integrated it with the SMDM. The chip allows them to separate molecules for the analysis at the single-molecule level.

The research team will showcase the SMDM at BIOTECHNICA 2015, to take place October 6-8 in Hannover, Germany. For more information, please visit www.biotechnica.de.

Follow us on Twitter, 'like' us on Facebook, connect with us on Google+, and join our group on LinkedIn

Get All the BioOptics World News Delivered to Your Inbox

Subscribe to BioOptics World Magazine or email newsletter today at no cost and receive the latest news and information.

 Subscribe Now
Related Articles

New bioimaging technique offers clear view of nervous system

Scientists at Ludwig-Maximilians University have developed a technique for turning the body of a deceased rodent entirely transparent, revealing the central nervous system in unprecedented clarity....

Fluorescent jellyfish proteins light up unconventional laser

Safer lasers to map your cells could soon be in the offing -- all thanks to the humble jellyfish. Conventional lasers, like the pointer you might use to entertain your cat, produce light by emittin...

Microscope detects one million-plus biomarkers for sepsis in 30 minutes

A microscope has the potential to simultaneously detect more than one million biomarkers for sepsis at the point of care.

Eye test that pairs two in vivo imaging methods may detect Parkinson's earlier

A low-cost, noninvasive eye test pairs two in vivo imaging methods to help detect Parkinson's before clinical symptoms appear.

BLOGS

Neuro15 exhibitors meet exacting demands: Part 2

Increasingly, neuroscientists are working with researchers in disciplines such as chemistry and p...

Why be free?

A successful career contributed to keeping OpticalRayTracer—an optical design software program—fr...

LASER Munich 2015 is bio-bent

LASER World of Photonics 2015 included the European Conferences on Biomedical Optics among its si...

White Papers

Understanding Optical Filters

Optical filters can be used to attenuate or enhance an image, transmit or reflect specific wavele...

How can I find the right digital camera for my microscopy application?

Nowadays, image processing is found in a wide range of optical microscopy applications. Examples ...

CONNECT WITH US

            

Twitter- BioOptics World

Copyright © 2007-2016. PennWell Corporation, Tulsa, OK. All Rights Reserved.PRIVACY POLICY | TERMS AND CONDITIONS