Their Potential Application (their + potential_application)

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Article first published online: 24 SEP 200
Groben R., Lange, M. & Medlin, L. K. Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research, Am Handelshafen 12, D-27570 Bremerhaven, Germany A fast and reliable identification of nano- and picoplankton by light microscopy is often difficult because of the lack of usable morphological characteristics, whereas electron microscopy and biochemical methods are very time consuming. Identification of toxic algae also requires a great deal of taxonomic experrtise so that false positives are not recorded. One solution is to use taxon specific rRNA probes. For this purpose we designed probes for phytoplankton taxa, including toxic algae. These probes were either labelled with Digoxigenin (DIG) and used in DNA dot blot experiments, or labelled with fluorochromes and used in whole-cell hybridisations with fluorescence microscopy or flow cytometric detection. Specific probes could be used over a broad taxonomic range from higher groups (i.e. the class of dinoflagellates) to species level (i.e. Prorocentrum lima). These probes were be used in the EU MAST project AIMS for the development of an automated identification system for marine phytoplankton in combination with flow cytometry and artificial neural networks (ANNs), in the EU MAST DETAL and in the German national project (TEPS) for the development of an early warning system for harmful algal blooms. Results using Digoxigenin (DIG)-labelled probes on picoplankton samples taken from several water bodies indicate that hierarchial re-probing of spotted samples can be achieved and this suggests that probes can be adapted to DNA microchips. Preliminary field results for a hand-held DNA microchip reader are presented. This work was supported by the German BMBF TEPS 03F0161 and the EU AIMS MAS3-CT97-0080 and EU DETAL Q5RS-2000-30778 projects. [source]

Highly Stable Au Nanoparticles with Tunable Spacing and Their Potential Application in Surface Plasmon Resonance Biosensors

Shuyan Gao
Abstract Colloidal Au-amplified surface plasmon resonance (SPR), like traditional SPR, is typically used to detect binding events on a thin noble metal film. The two major concerns in developing colloidal Au-amplified SPR lie in 1) the instability, manifested as a change in morphology following immersion in organic solvents and aqueous solutions, and 2) the uncontrollable interparticle distance, determining probe spacing and inducing steric hindrance between neighboring probe molecules. This may introduce uncertainties into such detecting techniques, degrade the sensitivity, and become the barricade hampering colloidal Au-based transducers from applications in sensing. In this paper, colloidal Au-amplified SPR transducers are produced by using ultrathin Au/Al2O3 nanocomposite films via a radio frequency magnetron co-sputtering method. Deposited Au/Al2O3 nanocomposite films exhibit superior stability, and average interparticle distances between Au nanoparticles with similar average sizes can be tuned by changing surface coverage. These characteristics are ascribed to the spacer function and rim confinement of dielectric Al2O3 and highlight their advantages for application in optimal nanoparticle-amplified SPR, especially when the probe size is smaller than the target molecule size. This importance is demonstrated here for the binding of protein (streptavidin) targets to the probe (biotin) surface. In this case, the dielectric matrix Al2O3 is a main contributor, behaving as a spacer, tuning the concentration of Au nanoparticles, and manipulating the average interparticle distance, and thus guaranteeing an appropriate number of biotin molecules and expected near-field coupling to obtain optimal sensing performance. [source]

Conductive Core,Sheath Nanofibers and Their Potential Application in Neural Tissue Engineering

Jingwei Xie
Abstract Conductive core,sheath nanofibers are prepared by a combination of electrospinning and aqueous polymerization. Specifically, nanofibers electrospun from poly(, -caprolactone) (PCL) and poly(L -lactide) (PLA) are employed as templates to generate uniform sheaths of polypyrrole (PPy) by in-situ polymerization. These conductive core,sheath nanofibers offer a unique system to study the synergistic effect of different cues on neurite outgrowth in vitro. It is found that explanted dorsal root ganglia (DRG) adhere well to the conductive core,sheath nanofibers and generate neurites across the surface when there is a nerve growth factor in the medium. Furthermore, the neurites can be oriented along one direction and enhanced by 82% in terms of maximum length when uniaxially aligned conductive core,sheath nanofibers are compared with their random counterparts. Electrical stimulation, when applied through the mats of conductive core,sheath nanofibers, is found to further increase the maximum length of neurites for random and aligned samples by 83% and 47%, respectively, relative to the controls without electrical stimulation. Together these results suggest the potential use of the conductive core,sheath nanofibers as scaffolds in applications such as neural tissue engineering. [source]

Synthesis of Carbon-Nanotube Composites Using Supercritical Fluids and Their Potential Applications

Zhimin Liu
Abstract Carbon-nanotube (CNT) composites have attracted a lot of attention because of their potential applications in many fields. Here, recent advances in the synthesis of CNT composites using supercritical fluids (SCFs) are highlighted. SCFs exhibit unique features for the synthesis of composites because of their unusual properties, such as low viscosity, high diffusivity, near-zero surface tension, and tunability. Preliminary studies show that SCFs show unusual advantages for the synthesis of CNT composites. The morphologies and structures of the resultant CNT composites can be tuned by changing the solvent properties. The SCF methods not only provide a green route for the synthesis of composites, but also result in nanostructures that have not yet been produced by conventional methods. Moreover, the potential applications of the resultant CNT composites are also discussed. [source]