Magnetic Nanotrap Particles Capture and Enrich Bacillus anthracis Analytes in Blood



Heath, Brittany

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Bacillus anthracis is a Category A biological threat agent as it has the potential to be used as a bioweapon. It is also encountered in nature where it can persist in the environment for decades. Nanotraps are hydrogel microparticles that have been developed to bind a wide variety of bio-analytes. The use of nanotraps can potentially capture biomarkers such as proteins or nucleic acids, enabling analytes that were once below detectable limits to become detectable by various processes such as mass spectrometry. The purpose of this study was to characterize the ability of magnetic nanotrap particles to capture, enrich and stabilize Bacillus anthracis biomarkers and bacteria. We have shown that magnetic nanotraps, functionalized with a Reactive Red 120 affinity bait, are able to capture and enrich Bacillus anthracis bacteria and proteins. These nanotraps have also been demonstrated to bind to Bacillus anthracis nucleic acid and protect it from degradation when incubated with DNase. Magnetic nanotraps can also allow for rapid separation of biomarkers from complex biological matrices, such as whole blood, performing just as well as centrifugation in this separation. Overall, this work suggests that nanotraps may be a useful part of up-stream processing and may improve detection in a workflow to detect Bacillus anthracis bacteria, proteins or nucleic acids from whole human blood.


This thesis has been embargoed for 2 years. It will not be available until May 2022 at the earliest.


Bacillus anthracis, Anthrax, Nanoparticles, Nanotrap particles