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Nanobeads in biotechnology

Nanobeads have applications ranging from basic science research to clinical imaging and targeted drug delivery. Nanobeads are composites of nanoparticles. Nanoparticles are defined as being less than 100 nanometers in diameter, while nanobeads are usually around 50 to 200 nanometers in diameter. There are also microbeads, but these are much larger and have diameters of at least 1000 nanometers, or 1 micrometer, which is close to the size of a cell. Bacterial cell diameters range from 0.5 to 2 micrometers in diameter, and animal cells range from 10 to 30 micrometers in diameter. The size of nanobeads is very important to their function; partly because they are so much smaller than a cell, which enables them to be used for cell labeling and isolation. In the case of magnetic nanobeads, the nanometer size imparts the paramagnetic property that is so valuable for biomagnetic separation, clinical imaging (contrast enhanced magnetic resonance (MRI)), and therapeutics such as magnetic hyperthermia for targeted tumor destruction.

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A general filtration process

Filtration is a simple technique used to separate solid particles from suspension in a liquid solution. There are many filtration methods available, but all are based on the same general principle: a heterogenous mixture is poured over a filter membrane. The filter membrane has pores of a particular size. Particles larger than the pores will be unable to pass through the membrane, while particles smaller than the pores will pass through unhindered. Additionally, all liquids will pass through. The final result of a filtration process is a collection of residue on the filtration membrane. This residue is therefore effectively separated from the rest of the mixture that passed through the membrane.

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Upstream processing

What is upstream and downstream processing?

Introduction to upstream and downstream processing. These terms are used more in the scientific industry, for example in pharmaceutical companies. Upstream is the first half of the process and everything associated with it. Downstream is the end of the biological process. Upstream processing being the first part of the biological process, it involves the growing of bacteria in media or culturing of cell lines. Companies use bacterial or human cells to harvest products of interest. There are many products that biological companies are interested in harvesting.

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Challenges with your Biomagnetic Separation process?

Visit Sepmag at AACR (booth 1456) and Experimental Biology (booth 1530)

SEPMAG is well known for helping IVD companies to improve, validate and scale up their biomagnetic separation processes. All this know-how on the physics behind the process also benefits researchers and industries in protein purification, cell sorting, and DNA/RNA capture.

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Immunoprecipitation with magnetic beads

Background on Immunoprecipitation

Immuno is a prefix that means you are talking about immunity. Immunity is how the body is protected against pathogens. The immune system has a system for recognizing foreign objects, then a system for combating the presence of the foreign object. For example in humans, T-cells are a type of immune cell that recognizes antigens, structures or molecules that are foriegn. Another important immune molecule is the antibody. Antibodies are shaped like the letter Y, and the two arms of the top of the Y recognize antigens. The specific part of an antigen that is recognized is called the epitope. The antibody recognizes the epitope by its structure and sequence of amino acids. This antibody-antigen interaction serves to help the body recognize antigens. When the interaction is strong enough, it also serves as a way to neutralize antigens. Another important aspect of antibodies is that they can have highly specific interactions with an epitope, and this interaction is strong as well, also known as a high affinity interaction. These two traits, the specificity and affinity, make antibodies a great tool as well! Let’s talk more about using antibodies for a particular tool, immunoprecipitation.


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Isolation of Cells

Techniques and investigations that require cell isolation

Cell isolation is a technique that is done in research labs and clinical settings. Cell isolation can be done in research settings to isolate a single cell to do research on it. There is a technique called patch clamp electrophysiology which measures voltage across a cell membrane. There are several ways to do this technique, either by inserting the pipette right into the membrane, or by taking a piece of the membrane off into the pipette so that molecules are still flowing through the membrane and the pipette which is connected to a device that can measure current. Another reason to isolate cells is to use them to study the effects of a drug on cell health. One grows cells in a dish in an optimized media for growth and stability. Then a drug can be introduced into the dish and one can observe how the cell physiology changes. The molecules released from the cells can also be studied or the change in the processes or proteins in the cell can also be studied with further purification or extraction techniques.


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Magnetic properties of nanoparticles

Magnetic properties of nanoparticles are used for drug delivery, therapeutic treatment, contrast agents for MRI imaging, bioseparation, and in-vitro diagnostics.  These nanometer-sized particles are superparamagnetic, a property resulting from their tiny size—only a few nanometers—a fraction of the width of a human hair (nanoparticles are approximately 1/1,000 thinner than human hair). Superparamagnetic nanoparticles are not magnetic when located in a zero magnetic field, but they quickly become magnetized when an external magnetic field is applied. When returned to a zero magnetic field they quickly revert to a non-magnetized state. Superparamagnatism is one of the most important properties of nanoparticles used for biomagnetic separation.

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IVD Conference 2022

See you in Madrid! The Merck’s Annual 2022 Two-Day IVD Conference is back (and live), and we will be there...

After its virtual edition in 2021, Merck’s IVD conference will return face-to-face again on March 24-25, in Madrid, Spain. During these two days, international experts and scientists will address key aspects of critical IVD Immuno and molecular assays. Attendees will discuss current and future IVD technologies and market trends while taking advantage of networking opportunities and attending the supplier exhibition. 

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Genomic DNA extraction

Genomic DNA extraction: an introduction

Genomic DNA is abbreviated as gDNA or called chromosomal DNA because it is packaged into chromosomes. It is the genetic code that is present in every cell and is expressed in many different combinations that lead to different cell differentiation and expression. The DNA is transcribed into RNA molecules that become proteins with many different functions. Many laboratories around the world perform genomic DNA extractions. The purpose of the genomic DNA extraction is to separate the genomic DNA from the rest of the cell contents to study it. Genomic DNA is studied by those interested in learning about specific genes and learning from genomic sequencing.


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Sandwich ELISA

The sandwich ELISA is a type of Enzyme-linked immunosorbent Assay that uses two antibodies: a capture antibody and a detection antibody. It is called a sandwich because your antigen is bound between antibodies. The purpose of any ELISA is to detect the presence of a target antigen in a sample. In a sandwich ELISA the target antigen is bound between a capture antibody and a detection antibody. The capture antibody is immobilized on a surface, while the detection antibody (conjugated to an enzyme or fluorophore label) is applied as a last step before quantitation.

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