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Bacterial Cantilever

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Science  28 Jul 2000:
Vol. 289, Issue 5479, pp. 509
DOI: 10.1126/science.289.5479.509d

Much effort is being expended in exploiting micro- and nanoelectromechanical systems for potential applications as miniaturized biological sensors and actuators. For example, the sensitive electromechanical properties of these systems can be used to shed light on cell adhesion and the dynamics of specific molecular interactions. Ilic et al. introduce a bacterial detection system based on the resonant-frequency shift of a microcantilever. Their cantilever is coated with an immobilizing antibody layer (specific in this case for the Escherichia coli O157:H7 serotype) and then exposed to solutions containing E. coli. Under ambient conditions, the technique is sensitive enough to detect just 16 bacterial cells (∼6 × 10−12g). Exposure to other bacteria, such as Salmonella, caused no shift in the resonant frequency. Arrays of such cantilevers, each one coated with a different antibody, may offer a simple multibacterial detection system. — ISO

Appl. Phys. Lett. 77, 450 (2000).

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