State-of-the-art, highly-sensitive golf clubs, developed by scientists, regularly catch the eye of golf's elite; however before the likes of Rory McIlroy get excited this time, this new golf putter is being put to use in microbiology laboratories.
The 'micro putter', developed in a study published today, 5 October 2011, in IOP Publishing's journal Measurement Science and Technology, has been designed to test the "stickiness" of single cells.
With a length of 240 micrometres, a width of 30 micrometres and a tip of just two micrometres, golfers would not even be able to see this new putter; one micrometre is equal to one-millionth of a metre.
Researchers from Nagoya University in Japan are using the micro putter to nudge individual yeast cells placed on a variety of surfaces to test cell adhesion.
Cell adhesion is the ability of a single cell to stick to other cells, or an exterior material, and has long been theorised as a way of testing if a cell is dead or alive.
According to the "cell adhesion model", the more a cell sticks the greater number of chemical bonds it has on its surface. A dead cell would have fewer chemical bonds on its surface so would therefore stick less than a living cell.
The research team has provided compelling evidence that this theory is correct, showing that a cell's adhesion is decreased by more than half once it's died.
Compared to conventional cell testing whereby averages are obtained by staining dead and living colonies with special dyes, the micro-putter could provide a fast and simple approach to testing individual cells and provide a more precise understanding of the biological processes that occur.
Co-author, Yajing Shen, said, "The identification of cell viability is very important in the biological and medical field. Take disease therapy for example: cell viability measurements could be used to evaluate the death of cancerous cells or evaluate cell dam
|Contact: Michael Bishop|
Institute of Physics