Device would quickly detect bacteria in wounds

Apr 03, 2007, 4:00am

Sheffield, England - British researchers report they have identified a means by which to quickly detect the presence of bacteria by using a light device activated by polymer molecules. According to a BBC news report, the technology could have significant application in wound healing.

Sheffield, England - British researchers report they have identified a means by which to quickly detect the presence of bacteria by using a light device activated by polymer molecules. According to a BBC news report, the technology could have significant application in wound healing.

The research team, from Sheffield University, is developing a portable “kit” in which specially designed polymer molecules almost instantly emit a light signal when bound to bacterial cells. Current laboratory-based detection of bacteria typically takes hours or even days.

The team has spent five years designing special large molecules, or polymers, which can bind to cells.

Researchers say exposing a wound to the polymers would show doctors whether there was a bacterial infection via a light signal. The technology, which could be available in three years, would be ideal for use in a war zone where laboratory facilities would likely be unavailable, they say.

Researchers add, however, that once perfected, the technology could be just as useful in civilian hospitals and treatment centers for more quickly detecting the presence and type of bacteria.