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Liquid crystal droplets discovered to be exquisitely sensitive to an important bacterial lipid
Date:5/20/2011

the presence of endotoxin. Horseshoe crabs are captured, bled and then returned to the water. The horseshoe crab test is the "gold standard assay" for endotoxin, Abbott says, "but our system so far seems a bit more sensitive and does not involve any biological components. The change in optical appearance of the droplets is quite striking, and it occurs within a minute."

The discovery could be the start of a long road to commercialization, but Abbott cautions, "We have found a fundamental phenomenon, but it's a long path to have a validated technology that can replace the horseshoe crab assay."

Horseshoe crabs are some of the most primitive multicellular organisms surviving on Earth, but Abbott believes they would still appreciate not having to donate blood quite so often.


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Contact: Nicholas Abbott
abbott@engr.wisc.edu
608-265-5278
University of Wisconsin-Madison
Source:Eurekalert

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