Navigation Links
Biosensors to probe the metals menace
Date:8/29/2007

If the pond life goes star-shaped, you'd be wise not to drink the water.

Researchers from CRC CARE are pioneering a world-first technology to warn people if their local water or air is contaminated with dangerous levels of toxic heavy metals and metal-like substances.

Andrew McKay, a PhD student at CRC CARE and The University of Queensland, is studying the changes that take place in a unique water microbe when it is exposed to arsenic, cadmium and lead industrial and natural contaminants around the world.

Our goal is to develop a simple field test that can warn people or environmental authorities if dangerous levels of toxic metals or metalloids (metal-like substances such as arsenic) are present in the environment, to which they might be exposed, he explains.

The test could provide vital in helping to tackle one of the world's greatest disasters the poisoning of tens of millions of people in Bangladesh and West Bengal, India, through naturallyoccurring arsenic in their household well water.

But countries such as Australia and New Zealand also have an arsenic problem from the tens of thousands of old sheep and cattle dips where arsenic was used for decades to control pests," Mr McKay said.

"In many cases these old dip sites have been forgotten and spreading urbanization has covered them.

We also have numerous old gold mining sites where arsenic was once used, tailings dumps from almost any kind of metal mine and wetlands that were used to trap contaminated runoff.

Mr McKay said old factories which produced paint or batteries had left historical residues of lead in our inner city areas, while fertilizer plants and other industrial processes had deposited cadmium and other toxic metals.

If toxic metals are present in the soil there is always a risk they will leach into drinking water, get into our food chain and reach infants and children," he said.

As city land value increase due to demand, we need better ways to make sure the land is clean and safe to live and work on.

He said there was good progress in developing water organisms as an early warning tool for such contamination, especially where a mix of toxic contaminants is involved.

We've found a number of readily-observable changes which take place in the organism when it is exposed to increased levels of toxic metals and metalloids," he said.

"Their growth and reproduction rates slow down and their shape changes becoming star or V-shaped.

And of course, at high levels of the toxins, they die.

These changes will enable scientists to use the pond creatures as living sensors or biosensors for toxic metal contamination.

The current research challenge, he says, is to use the organisms to develop a sensitive enough test to discern whether or not the level of contamination poses a risk to human health and life.

Simple pond creatures are often more tolerant of metals than humans, who accumulate the toxins over a much longer period of time, leading to cancers, immune system breakdown, nerve or brain damage or other forms of poisoning.

The research task now is to equate the symptoms observed in the microbes with levels of risk to humans and animals, and to package this as a cheap, simple test that can provide a quick answer in the field rather than through long and expensive laboratory testing, Mr McKay said.


'/>"/>
Contact: Jan King
communications@uq.edu.au
61-733-651-120
Research Australia
Source:Eurekalert

Related medicine news :

1. New scalpel probes into cancer
2. The Bio-probe –“ Boon to women ?
3. Research Fraud By Doctor – Probe Demanded
4. Tamiflu Shortage Can Be Better Handled By Combining It With Probenecid
5. Three In One Ultrasound Probe For 3-D Imaging Of Heart And Tissue Destruction Developed
6. Panic and probe due to mysterious deaths
7. Gestiva – the pre-term birth drug probed by FD
8. Link between Old Cells and Ageing probed
9. China Launches Probe Into Breast Enhancement Drug
10. Cell Behavior Better Understood with Nano Probe
11. Madhya Pradesh Hospital to Probe Power Failure Deaths
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:8/18/2017)... , ... August 18, 2017 , ... ... services and financial consultations to communities throughout the greater DC region, is inaugurating ... the goal of rescuing local animals and training them to be companions for ...
(Date:8/18/2017)... (PRWEB) , ... August 18, 2017 , ... ... and financial planning services to communities in east Texas, is launching a regional ... Tumor Foundation. , Founded in 1991, the Pediatric Brain Tumor Foundation (PBTF) has ...
(Date:8/18/2017)... John, IN (PRWEB) , ... August 18, 2017 , ... ... to communities in northwest Indiana, is campaigning in support of Campagna Academy in a ... referred to as the “Hoosier Boys’ Town of Indiana,” Campagna Academy is a nonprofit ...
(Date:8/18/2017)... TX (PRWEB) , ... August 18, 2017 , ... The ... communities in the Dallas/Fort Worth area, is spearheading a regional charity campaign organized to ... husband. , In early June of this year, Christina and her children returned from ...
(Date:8/18/2017)... ... August 18, 2017 , ... With over ... in bioidentical hormone replacement therapy and integrative medicine, has become a frontrunner for ... aging, such as menopause, andropause, thyroid disorder and adrenal insufficiencies. , Founded ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:8/15/2017)... , Aug. 15, 2017  Axium Pharmaceuticals Inc., the creator of ... to be in the beginning stages of an IPO. ... epilepsy medications with the average cost of a prescription epilepsy drug being ... AXIUM ... Another staggering figure is the fact that ...
(Date:8/11/2017)... 2017 DarioHealth Corp. (NASDAQ: DRIO), a leading ... data solutions, today announced that it will release its ... host a conference call at 9:00am ET. The Company ... results and its strategy and outlook for the remainder ... Erez Raphael , Chief Executive Officer, and Zvi ...
(Date:8/7/2017)... 2017 Insightin Health, provider of data-driven ... engagement, announced the selection of Michael Wood ... effective as of February 2017. In this role, Wood ... for our clients. Wood brings with him more ... business analytics within the healthcare industry. Wood formerly ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: