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J Environ Monit. 2007 Jan;9(1):87-90. Epub 2006 Nov 9.

Dielectrophoretic separation of Bacillus subtilis spores from environmental diesel particles.

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Centre for Biomedical Engineering, School of Engineering, University of Surrey, Guildford, Surrey, GU2 7XH, UK.


Isolation of pathogenic bacteria from non-biological material of similar size is a vital sample preparation step in the identification of such organisms, particularly in the context of detecting bio-terrorist attacks. However, many detection methods are impeded by particulate contamination from the environment such as those from engine exhausts. In this paper we use dielectrophoresis--the induced motion of particles in non-uniform fields--to successfully remove over 99% of diesel particulates acquired from environmental samples, whilst letting bacterial spores of B. subtilis pass through the chamber largely unimpeded. We believe that such a device has tremendous potential as a precursor to a range of detection methods, improving the signal-to-noise ratio and ultimately improving detection rates.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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