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Anal Chem. 2008 Feb 1;80(3):864-72. doi: 10.1021/ac7018365. Epub 2008 Jan 11.

Flow cytometric analysis to detect pathogens in bacterial cell mixtures using semiconductor quantum dots.

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  • 1Department of Chemistry, University of Rochester, Rochester, New York 14627, USA.


Compared to a common green organic dye, semiconductor quantum dots (QDs) composed of CdSe/ZnS core/shell bioconjugates display brighter fluorescence intensities, lower detection thresholds, and better accuracy in analyzing bacterial cell mixtures composed of pathogenic E. coli O157:H7 and harmless E. coli DH5alpha using flow cytometry. For the same given bacterial mixture, QDs display fluorescence intensity levels that are approximately 1 order of magnitude brighter compared to the analogous experiments that utilize the standard dye fluorescein isothiocyanate. Detection limits are lowest when QDs are used as the fluorophore label for the pathogenic E. coli O157:H7 serotype: limits of 1% O157:H7 in 99% DH5alpha result, corresponding to 106 cells/mL, which is comparable to other developing fluorescence-based techniques for pathogen detection. Finally, utilizing QDs to label E. coli O157:H7 in cell mixtures results in greater accuracy and more closely approaches the ideal fluorophore for pathogen detection using flow cytometry. With their broader absorption spectra and narrower emission spectra than organic dyes, QDs can make vast improvements in the field of flow cytometry, where single-source excitation and simultaneous detection of multicolor species without complicating experimental setups or data analysis is quite advantageous for analyzing heterogeneous cell mixtures, both for prokaryotic pathogen detection and for studies on eukaryotic cell characteristics.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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