New ‘nanotweezers’ can pull material from living cells without causing harm


Scientists at the Imperial College London have revealed their creation of a set of nanotweezers that can work on the molecular level to extract subcellular components from cells, all while not harming the host cell whatsoever.

The first step was to make a pair of nanopipettes out of quartz using the process of laser pulling to slowly strip away layers. Then nanoelectrodes were made at the tips of these microscopic pipettes by depositing chemically modified carbon to form a conductive surface. The distance between these two nanoelectrodes is on the order of 10 nanometers. And since human cells are on average the size of tens, hundreds, or even thousands of micrometers, this nanotweezer scale is far below that. When a voltage is expressed across them, the two electrodes create an attractive force, pulling molecules in their direction.

Particles can then be trapped and moved via these tweezers, including being removed entirely from the cell.

The scientists have noted that the nanotweezers may also be modified with different techniques beyond just molecular-level extrication. Scanning and observation components could be attached and inserted into a living cell and produce data on any variety of cellular behavior. The limits of what we can use such a device for are only the limits we choose to restrict ourselves to.

Read full, original post: Nanotweezers allow for extraction of single molecules from living cells

Outbreak Daily Digest
Biotech Facts & Fallacies
Talking Biotech
Genetics Unzipped
can you boost your immune system to prevent coronavirus spread x

Video: How to boost your immune system to guard against COVID and other illnesses

Scientists have recently developed ways to measure your immune age. Fortunately, it turns out your immune age can go down ...
mag insects image superjumbo v

Disaster interrupted: Which farming system better preserves insect populations: Organic or conventional?

A three-year run of fragmentary Armageddon-like studies had primed the journalism pumps and settled the media framing about the future ...
dead bee desolate city

Are we facing an ‘Insect Apocalypse’ caused by ‘intensive, industrial’ farming and agricultural chemicals? The media say yes; Science says ‘no’

The media call it the “Insect Apocalypse”. In the past three years, the phrase has become an accepted truth of ...
globalmethanebudget globalcarbonproject cropped x

Infographic: Cows cause climate change? Agriculture scientist says ‘belching bovines’ get too much blame

A recent interview by Caroline Stocks, a UK journalist who writes about food, agriculture and the environment, of air quality ...
organic hillside sweet corn x

Organic v conventional using GMOs: Which is the more sustainable farming?

Many consumers spend more for organic food to avoid genetically modified products in part because they believe that “industrial agriculture” ...
benjamin franklin x

Are most GMO safety studies funded by industry?

The assertion that biotech companies do the research and the government just signs off on it is false ...
gmo corn field x

Do GMO Bt (insect-resistant) crops pose a threat to human health or the environment?

Bt is a bacterium found organically in the soil. It is extremely effective in repelling or killing target insects but ...

Environmental Working Group: EWG challenges safety of GMOs, food pesticide residues

Known by some as the "Environmental Worrying Group," EWG lobbies for tighter GMO legislation and famously puts out annual "dirty dozen" list of fruits and ...
m hansen

Michael Hansen: Architect of Consumers Union ongoing anti-GMO campaign

Michael K. Hansen (born 1956) is thought by critics to be the prime mover behind the ongoing campaign against agricultural biotechnology at Consumer Reports. He is an ...
News on human & agricultural genetics and biotechnology delivered to your inbox.
Optional. Mail on special occasions.
Send this to a friend