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Scientists design simple dipstick test for cocaine, other drugs

>When dipped into a solution, or swabbed with a sample, the wicking pad carries the fluid to the nanoparticle aggregates on the conjugation pad. The rehydrated aggregates then migrate to the edge of the membrane, which they cannot penetrate because of their large size.

The aptamers quickly bind to any targeted molecules that are present, freeing some of the gold nanoparticles. The red-colored nanoparticles then migrate along the membrane, where they are captured by the streptavidin and form a red line. The intensity of the line is an indicator of how much of the targeted molecule was in the sample solution.

So far, the researchers have successfully demonstrated their dipstick technology on both adenosine (a nucleotide consisting of adenine and ribose) and cocaine, in human blood serum.

"Our results show that the aptamer-based dipstick is compatible with biological samples, making applications in medicinal diagnostics possible," Lu said.
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Source:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign


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