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Posted: June 8, 2010

University of Leicester Uses NanoSight to Characterize Marine Viruses and Bacteriophages

(Nanowerk News) The Department of Infection, Immunity and Inflammation at the University of Leicester is using the NanoSight nanoparticle characterization system to count bacteriophage and marine viruses.
Dr. Martha Clokie is a lecturer in microbiology. Her interests are focussed on the ecology and molecular biology of bacteriophages and their relationship with bacterial hosts; ranging from bacterial pathogens to environmentally important cyanobacteria; exploiting bacteriophages and phage-derived products as an alternative to treating antibiotic resistant bacterial infections.
The University of Leicester's Dr Martha Clokie with her NanoSight LM10 system
The University of Leicester's Dr Martha Clokie with her NanoSight LM10 system.
Dr. Clokie has been using the NanoSight system to study cyanobacteria and their viruses which involves the accurate enumeration of viral particles. Prior to the use of the NanoSight system, Dr. Clokie would use time-consuming plaque assays to count viruses, this involves relatively large volumes of cyanobacterial culture and takes up to four weeks to obtain results. Now using NanoSight's unique nanoparticle tracking analysis, she is able to produce data in minutes and with no culturing required. Data from the NanoSight appears to correlate well with data from conventional plaque assays. With the typical viruses in the 100-300nm range and marine samples already being in the concentration range of 106 - 107 parts/ml, this is utilizing the sweet spot of the NanoSight technology which tracks and counts light scattered particle by particle.
Of her results to date, Dr. Clokie says it looks to provide a very promising method with significant ease of use, time-saving advantages. "Being able to visualise the sample without dilution gives me confidence in the results. The NanoSight has also shown advantages over flow cytometry where signal to noise issues can sometimes be a problem for us. This speed of data collection will allow me to probe far more data than I could do otherwise and should really allow the cyanobacterial/phage dynamic to be probed."
To learn more about nanoparticle characterization using Nanoparticle Tracking Analysis (NTA), please visit the company's website ( and register for the latest issue of NanoTrail, the company's electronic newsletter.
About NanoSight
NanoSight Limited, of Salisbury, UK, provides unique nanoparticle characterization technology. "Nanoparticle Tracking Analysis" (NTA) detects and visualizes populations of nanoparticles in liquids down to 10nm (material dependent) and measures the size of each particle from direct observations of diffusion. This particle-by-particle methodology goes beyond traditional light scattering techniques such as Dynamic Light Scattering (DLS), or Photon Correlation Spectroscopy (PCS), in providing high-resolution particle size distributions. Additionally NanoSight measures concentration and validates all data with video of particles moving under Brownian motion.
This characterization information is highly informative in understanding the more complex suspensions in biological systems, hence its wide application in development of drug delivery systems, viral vaccines, the study of toxicology of nanoparticles and their environmental fate and in biomarker detection. This real-time data also provides insight into the kinetics of protein aggregation and other time-dependent phenomena in a quantitative manner, at deeply sub-micron sizes.
NanoSight has more than 250 systems installed worldwide with users including BASF, BP, GlaxoSmithKline, Novartis, 3M Corp., Roche, Solvay and Unilever together with many universities and research institutes. There are currently 100+ third party papers citing NanoSight results, with this reference base growing very rapidly as NanoSight consolidates its key contribution to nanoparticle characterization.
Source: NanoSight (press release)
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