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Magnetic Beads Trap E. Coli from Body Fluid Samples

While current concern is all about the COVID-19 virus that originated in China and spread around the world, this pathogen will eventually disappear. Escherichia coli (E. coli) bacteria, though, is with us for the long run and it can cause just as much suffering as COVID-19.

Researchers at Rutgers University have just reported in journal ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces on an interesting new device that can capture individual E. coli bacteria from body fluids, including blood plasma, and concentrate them for analysis. The technology should have important implications for diagnosing E. coli infections and identifying the antibiotics that will best work in every case.

The micro- and nanofluidic device relies on tiny magnetic beads that naturally clump together into a large mass. The spaces in between the beads are so small that individual bacteria get trapped in between while most of the rest of the body fluid is allowed to pass through.

By pushing a bunch of liquid quickly through the clump of beads and breaking them with physical force, the bacteria gets released and can be easily captured downstream.

The new device is easy to build and should be cheap to manufacture. Moreover, it should work not only for E. coli, but also for a bunch of other pathogens.

Study in journal ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces: Rapid Escherichia coli Trapping and Retrieval from Bodily Fluids via a Three-Dimensional Bead-Stacked Nanodevice

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