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August 18th, 2009
Spanish scientists have made antibody-coated nanoparticles that can detect bioanalytes indicative of drug abuse.
Ramón Alvarez-Puebla and colleagues at the University of Vigo attached antibodies specific to a major cocaine metabolite, benzoylecgonine, to the surface of carbon nanotube-supported silver nanoparticles. They then added a solution of benzoylecgonine, which bound to the antibodies and caused a change in their structure. The team showed that surface-enhanced Raman spectroscopy (SERS) could be used to monitor the structural changes and determine the metabolite concentration.
The method can be performed in biological fluids, such as saliva or urine, says Alvarez-Puebla, and can determine not only the drug's presence but also the amount consumed. It could also be used to detect disease-related biomolecules, he suggests.
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