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19 October 2011 Infrared signatures to discriminate viability of autoclaved Bacillus spores
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Abstract
Optical methods can offer good sensitivity for detecting small amounts of chemicals and biologicals, and as these methods mature, are some of the few techniques that can offer true standoff detection. For detection of biological species, determining the viability is clearly important: Certain species of gram-positive bacteria are capable of forming endospores, specialized structures that arise when living conditions become unfavorable or little growth medium is available. Spores are also resistant to many chemicals as well as changes in heat or pH; such spores can remain dormant from months to years until more favorable conditions arise, resulting in germination back to the vegetative state. This persistence characteristic of bacterial spores allows for contamination of a surface (e.g. food or medical equipment) even after the surface has been nominally cleaned. Bacterial spores have also been used as biological weapons, as in the case of B. anthracis. Thus, having rapid analytical methods to determine a spore's viability after attempts to clean a given environment is crucial. The increasing availability of portable spectrometers may provide a key to such rapid onsite analysis. The present study was designed to determine whether infrared spectroscopy may be used to differentiate between viable vs. dead B. subtilis and B. atrophaeus spores. Preliminary results show that the reproducible differences in the IR signatures can be used to identify the viable vs. the autoclaved (dead) spores.
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Matthew D. W. Schneider, Nancy B. Valentine, and Timothy J. Johnson "Infrared signatures to discriminate viability of autoclaved Bacillus spores", Proc. SPIE 8189, Optics and Photonics for Counterterrorism and Crime Fighting VII; Optical Materials in Defence Systems Technology VIII; and Quantum-Physics-based Information Security, 818908 (19 October 2011); https://doi.org/10.1117/12.897944
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