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First Signs Of Food Posioning

Updated on September 15, 2012

Moldy Pies

photo by sascha grant on flickr
photo by sascha grant on flickr

Toxic Food Poisoning Symptoms

While nanoscience brings with it important areas of concern in regards to the risks that must be better understood in order to safely utilize the inventions of the future, not everything is reason for alarm. Non-toxic uses of nanoparticles will most certainly improve health and lives, offsetting the disadvantages of toxic counterparts in the sort of symbiotic balance that God's creation so often exhibits. Gold nanoparticles are beneficial in detecting the first signs of food poisoning as well as being beneficial in treating modern drug resistant food poisoning bacteria. Anyone who has ever suffered from the often violent food poisoning symptoms will be thankful for the advances being made in this direction. Food poisoning is an illness that generally strikes in waves as people eat improperly prepared or tainted dishes.


It is also a global reality occurring on a nearly daily basis. A quick look at the recent headlines shows that 3 people (2 elderly women and a child) died in the Odisha (depending on whether you accept the name change from Orissa) state of India. Ukrainian football coach Oleg Blohkin has just recently blamed the Germans and food poisoning for his team's loss to Turkey saying that they were poisoned in the country while preparing for the Euro tournament. Breakthroughs in nanoparticle science can hopefully eliminate death statistics and take away at least one excuse for less than stellar on-field performances.


Mississippi nanotechnologists are the first to reveal their efforts at synthesizing a fast-acting method for detecting the first signs of food poisoning. Led by Paresh Chandra Ray, the team has uncovered a new method of analyzing lettuce through gold nanoparticles applied to a leaf segment. This fast test can be used on-site and in the field as a means of replacing the current salmonella tests that take anywhere from about 17-72 hours for results to be readied. Stopping the spread of an outbreak at the first signs of poisoned food can be a lifesaver, particularly in population groups that have lowered immune defenses. Antibodies attached to gold popcorn-shaped nanoparticles (humorously called nanopopcorn) proved to be the secret as they signal a color change from pink to blue in the presence of salmonella. This cheaper alternative should find rapid adoption as a force against the multi-drug resistant salmonella bacteria.


This nanoscience advancement follows quickly on Chinese nanotechnologist's efforts at producing a similar color change test for Staphylococcus aureus or the "golden staff" bacteria. Food poisoning is one sign of the presence of this bacteria that is resident in a predicted 20% of the humans alive. Staph can also cause troublesome hospital infections and even toxic shock syndrome. TSS (toxic shock syndrome) sufferers exhibit many of the same first signs of food poisoning, including vomiting, nausea, diarrhea and stomach intestinal pain. Phenylboronic acid-functionalized nanoparticles can detect quantities of food poisoning as small as 50 cells per milliliter.


Detection of toxic substances is not the only way gold nanoparticles can be purposed. Treatment is also an area with great promise to patients and doctors alike. Salmonella typhimurium DT104 bacteria is drug resistant to many pharmaceuticals that are sold. Antibiotics and other drugs such as ampicillin, sulfonamides, streptomycin and others are less effective when used against these MDR variants. Photothermal lysis was used through the weaponizing of 670nm laser radiation in order to kill the food poisoning culprit. Astonishingly, this was nearly 100% effective. Look for more great things as labs continue to perfect these techniques.


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