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Scientists get first look at nanotubes inside living animals
Date:9/24/2007

inside pupal cases and emerge as adult flies.

"Developmentally, the first few days of a fruit fly's life are critical," Beckingham said. "We provided larval flies with a steady diet of food that contained carbon nanotubes and checked their weight just after they emerged from their pupal cases. We found no significant differences in the adult weight of nanotube-fed flies when compared to control groups that were not fed carbon nanotubes."

The nanotube-fed larvae also survived to adulthood just as well as the control group.

Using a custom-built microscope, the team aimed a red laser beam into the fruit flies. This excited a fluorescent glow from the carbon nanotubes, as they emitted near-infrared light of specific wavelengths. The researchers were able to use a special camera to view the glowing nanotubes inside living flies. Videos constructed from these images clearly showed peristaltic movements in the digestive system.

When the researchers removed and examined tissues from the flies, they found the near-infrared microscope allowed them to see and identify individual nanotubes inside the tissue specimens. The highest concentration of nanotubes was found in the dorsal vessel, which is analogous to a main blood vessel in a mammal. Lesser concentrations were found in the brain, ventral nerve cord, salivary glands, trachea and fat. Based on their assays, the team estimates that only about one in 100 million nanotubes passed through the gut wall and became incorporated into the flies' organs.


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Contact: Jade Boyd
jadeboyd@rice.edu
713-348-6778
Rice University
Source:Eurekalert

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