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Trapping Toxins Using Gold Nanoparticles 68

Posted by samzenpus
from the everything-loves-gold dept.
Billly Gates writes "British scientists have found a way to quickly and accurately find toxins by binding gold nanoparticles with sugar which then could be dissolved in a solution that changes color when any toxin is found. This procedure could be used in the medical field to find poisons and diseases as well as finding substances in bioterrorist attacks."
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Trapping Toxins Using Gold Nanoparticles

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 05, 2006 @04:18AM (#15064634)

    "First you get the sugar & gold nanoparticles, then you get the power, then you get the women".

    • "First you get the sugar & gold nanoparticles, then you get the power, then you get the women".

      From TFA: "The research team is also looking into ways of using the detection system to help scene of crime officers analyse biological fluids such as sweat that criminals leave behind."

      Don't forget the biological fluids. Women are apparently very keen on biological fluids such as sweat, and possibly some others.
  • Bioterrorism? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by tpgp (48001) on Wednesday April 05, 2006 @04:23AM (#15064645) Homepage
    *sighs*

    Mention bioterrorism and you're guaranteed publicity and funding.

    Meanwhile, the real [ethicalinvesting.com] bioterrorists [bhopal.org] are never going to be bought to justice.
    • With Monsanto's terminator technology, they will sell seeds to farmers to plant crops. But these seeds have been genetically-engineered so that when the crops are harvested, all new seeds from these crops are sterile

      So... uh... don't buy them? Use the system you've been using so far, which seems to work well enough?
    • Re:Bioterrorism? (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Sqwubbsy (723014)
      Are you suggesting Union Carbide willfully gassed the people of Bhopal? Because the article you link to suggests a malicious intent by the CEO.
      That's a bit of a stretch from the Islamofascists who are willfully trying to kill non-believers.

      I'm not saying UC isn't culpable, or that the settlement shouldn't have been more substantial, but you're comparing apples and oranges.

      Also, how does a US$470,000,000 settlement only come to $300-500 per person unless it's spread out to 1,175,000 people and not the 50,00
      • Re:Bioterrorism? (Score:5, Informative)

        by tpgp (48001) on Wednesday April 05, 2006 @04:59AM (#15064752) Homepage
        Are you suggesting Union Carbide willfully gassed the people of Bhopal? Because the article you link to suggests a malicious intent by the CEO.
        That's a bit of a stretch from the Islamofascists who are willfully trying to kill non-believers.


        OK - you're right. Calling them bio-terrorism isn't a correct. But as the powers-that-be are labelling everything they don't like as bio-terrorism, I thought I would do the same. (oh, and not all terrorists are islamic)

        I'm not saying UC isn't culpable, or that the settlement shouldn't have been more substantial, but you're comparing apples and oranges.

        OK - I am comparing apples & oranges - however, I wanted to highlight the fact that the major chemical and biological threat to people is from negligent or greedy corporations, not some nebulous terrorist threat

        Also, how does a US$470,000,000 settlement only come to $300-500 per person unless it's spread out to 1,175,000 people and not the 50,000 mentioned in the article? Perhaps the state used/took some of the money for (I'm hoping) services and to recover their costs for assistance. Look, Bhopal was crappy and I think it has helped India step up to not be treated like a 3rd world nation, but weak analogies like your will not help bring justice.

        The 50,000 you mention are those who can't work due to injuries. The settlement also had to pay for the cleanup (still imcomplete), the funerals (and family's) of the 20,000 who died, the 120,000 who suffer ailments (I could go on....)
    • I do have to say, your soapbox points have a bit of merit, if slighly off topic.

      What you have to understand is that, unlike you and your kin, the world's science community cannot focus on a single issue. We have hundreds of great minds and thousands of average ones studying many different problems at any given time. While some see fit to study ways to make GE'd crops sterile, others study ways to make similar GE'd crops yield 2x as much. You cannot say that either side is bad, both are looking out for their
      • What you have to understand is that, unlike you and your kin, the world's science community cannot focus on a single issue.

        I made no comment about the world science community. I made critcism of two corporations who have behaved atrociously.

        The world science community can (and should) do whatever the hell it likes, but I reserve my right to critcize the way people utilize their findings.
    • Well, at least the reporter has a sense of humour. The article is worth it just for the image and caption.
    • Your comment is proof that mentioning bioterrorism also increases your /. score.
  • welcome our new sound-money-containing overlords.
  • FUD (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Inverted Intellect (950622) on Wednesday April 05, 2006 @04:34AM (#15064673)
    Why can't this invention be deemed notable for its own worth? News outlets continually drag some kind of terrorism into everything these days...

    Suddenly, a new way to detect toxins isn't notable because it helps those with medical conditions, but rather because it hinders terrorists from achieving their goals... not that it isn't a good side effect or anything.

    What's next? "New construction techniques defend against terrorist bombings"?
    • Re:FUD (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Jaqui (905797)
      "What's next? "New construction techniques defend against terrorist bombings"?"

      uh, since The Oklahoma City bombing that has been started. ~sigh~

      the series "Frontlines of Construction" [ on Discovery Channel usually ] has covered how the construction industry is now engineering to protect against terrorist attacks. Simple things like stopping vehicles from parking close to the front of the building to more complex items like improving structural design to handle massive bomb damage and avoid catastrophic fai
    • So what exactly is wrong in putting an invention in the current context? People are currently preoccupied with terrorism threats (at least the media is), and if you mentioned medical applications and not counter-bio-attack functions, you'd get much less attention (and funding), while being equally inaccurate as if you only mention counter-bio-attack and not medical applications.

      What do you mean with "notable for its own worth" anyway? You mean you should be able to judge an invention without knowing the po

  • 500 years after alchemy became chemisty, and we can only turn gold into lead???
  • Apparently gold has been used to detect other things, too. It's a different procedure, but interesting none the less.
  • by sirwired (27582) on Wednesday April 05, 2006 @06:17AM (#15064960)
    It changes color for "any toxin"? What exactly is a "toxin". As any toxicologist will tell you, poison is all about the dosage.

    At 1000mg / dose, Tylenol is an effective, safe non-addictive pain releiver.

    At 7000mg / dose, it causes irreversible liver damage in most adults without the antidote.

    Poisoning by Iron supplements used to be a very common cause of poison deaths among children until there were mandated safety caps for iron supplements.

    So again, what is a "toxin"?

    SirWired
    • It changes color for "any toxin"? What exactly is a "toxin". As any toxicologist will tell you, poison is all about the dosage.

      If only you'd RTFA before posting, you'd see that a PARTICULAR sugar (not just sugar as the summary suggests) is bound to the gold to detect a PARTICULAR toxin.
    • Why, a "toxin" is any vague, mysterious, ill-defined "bad thing" that whatever magic water, magnets, or pseudo-religious ritual-for-hire that the peddler is selling is supposed to make go away, of course.

      Seriously, I think "toxin", "detoxify", and other variations of the word used outside of an actual poison-studying-scientist publication is pretty much an automatic sign that the writer/speaker/salesdrone is blowing smoke.

      (In fairness, TFA actually IS about poison-studying-scientists though...)

      The gold n

  • How the hell do you make a discovery like this???

    Someone was walking around the office one day with a cup of sugar and tripped and spilled it into the vat of gold nanoparticles???
  • so... (Score:2, Funny)

    by Churla (936633)
    A spoon full of sugar (/w gold nanoparticles) helps the ricin go down? the ricin go down.. the ricin go down??

    (Shameless theft of riff from and apologies to Mary Poppins)
  • This is eerily similar to what the horn of the unicorn is supposed to do in the presence of poisons.

    Life imitates art and art imitates life, but which is it this time ...
    • So you think unicorn horns are made from sugar and gold nanoparticles?
    • by Rhinobird (151521)
      Which legends are you reading. I though unicorn horns were supposed to be a cure for toxins, not a detector.
      • by jani (4530)
        I've been reading run-of-the-mill myths and legends.

        The unicorn horns were used for both detecting and neutralizing poisons. To neutralize the poison, you would probably like to find out whether there is a poison in the first place.

        http://www.unicornlady.net/treasures.html [unicornlady.net]

        As for the obscure sci-fi-reference, I think it's "The Warlock in Spite of Himself" by Cristopher Stasheff, where the reluctant hero uses a toxin diagnostic device which he claims -- knowing it to be false -- to be the horn of a unicorn.
    • Also reminiscent of the fairly bizarre conspiracy theory about solutions of powdered gold (called "white powder gold" or "M-state gold") being used in ancient times to prolong life, enhance spirituality and intelligence, and cure poisons. These conspiracy theorists believe this was the actual philosopher's stone, and that gold prices and the control of gold are somehow tied into this.
  • It's "Gold Particle" not "Gold NANOparticle".  I'm sick of random addition of "nano" in front of words to make them sound new.
    • while in general i agree with you sentiments. IN this case the nomecure "nano" is aptly used. For in this case the scale of the particle is indeed on the nano scale. THis distiguishes it from particles that exist on the micro scale and above and those that exist below the nanoscale (which are generally single atoms). The reason for this deistinction is that metal clusters on the nano scale have vastly different properties than metals on either the atomic scale or the bulk (tens of microns and above) sca
    • Mork started it.

      I'd be okay if someone wants to go back in time and kill him.

    • Eventually, we will get to the point where the entire english language will consist of one word. But that word will be composed of thousands upon thousands of fragments of the words that came before it. Or perhaps we should call them "Nano-words."
  • A dupe with THIS [slashdot.org] article?
    • nope. The article that you linked to was detecting binding events by means of electronics while in this article detection was through means of spectroscopy (shinning light on it). Also, the article you linked to used a gold electrode while this one uses a gold nanoparticle. COOL
  • Apparently scientist have found a new way to spread the wealth.

  • This story is quite ironic... if you are a Cyberman.

  • If this really worked, I wouldn't get a hangover after downing a bottle of Goldschlager, now would I???
  • That's what we have here. It's not ordinary sugar, it's a selected type of monosaccharide for each kind of target to be detected.

    And what they don't say is that it's probable that there are many "toxins" for which no such marker exists. And that it's probable for one marker to react to more than one dissolved substance, possibly leading to false positives.

    It's a cute trick, though, making the gold stay with the sugar in a solution. It'd be interesting to see how often it dissolves off before detecting an
  • Isn't this a selling point for Goldschlager? :)

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