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Micromotors Rapidly Eliminate Biothreats on the Battlefield

Battlefield Biothreat Detection to Protect Warfighter

Scientists at the University of California–San Diego (UCSD) are speeding ahead to provide new protections for the warfighter by detecting and eliminating biothreats on the battlefield.

In a research project managed by Dr. Brian Pate of DTRA CB/JSTO, Professor Joseph Wang, Dr. Wei Gao and their team recently developed a micromotor-based approach for rapidly screening, capturing, isolating and destroying anthrax simulant spores with minimal sample preparation.

The micromotors are functionalized with the antibody anthrax simulant, a species of bacillus found in soil and decomposing organic matter, which has been shown to recognize, selectively capture and transports anthrax simulant B. globigii spores in complex environmental matrices.

The light-activated microspheres propel autonomously in natural water and eliminating the need for external fuel, decontaminating reagent, or mechanical agitation. They’ve been shown to generate highly reactive oxygen species responsible for the destruction of the cell membranes of the target spore, as well as rapid and complete in situ mineralization of organophosphate nerve agents into nonharmful products.

A significant benefit to the warfighter on the battlefield, this approach charts a new biodefense capability trajectory for micromotor-based multifunctional systems that rapidly destroy biological threats.

Read the paper at Analyst:  Micromotors to capture and destroy anthrax simulant spores.

Article courtesy of the Joint Science & Technology Office, adapted.

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