Harnessing Nanobiotechnology as a Diagnostic Tool to Improve Medical Laboratory Detection of Pathogenic Microorganisms

Author Details

Divya Ragupathy, Andrew W. Taylor-Robinson

Journal Details


Published: 7 May 2021 | Article Type : Review Article


A multitude of pathogenic microorganisms cause serious threats to human health and wellbeing. Rapid and accurate diagnosis is a critically important measure towards lowering the incalculable toll of morbidity and mortality from infectious diseases worldwide each year. The provision of early information enables a treating physician to prescribe an effective therapeutic intervention, thereby avoiding long-term clinical complications. From a public health perspective this also reduces the possibility of an infectious, undiagnosed patient unknowingly transmitting a given disease to others with whom they are in contact. Harnessing nanobiotechnology in the medical laboratory detection of microbial pathogens is advancing the diagnosis of infectious diseases by making use of very inexpensive materials to achieve highly sensitive and specific test results. Using nanoparticles, ultrafine molecules with high surface to volume ratio, enables attachment to the surface of targeted molecules, rendering them easily detectable by their optical and magnetic properties. Nanobiotechnology-based diagnostic techniques produce data in a much shorter time than do conventional methodologies, thus facilitating prompt case treatment. There are a number of technical limitations that need to be resolved, while proper ethical and legal guidelines have to be established. However, if these initial issues can be overcome, the attractive combination of high sensitivity, specificity, reduced cost, portability and reusability of nanobiotechnology is set to drive a new revolution in the diagnosis and treatment of infectious diseases.

Keywords: nanobiotechnology; gold nanoparticle; magnetite nanoparticle; quantum dot; electromechanical system; cantilever array; microorganism; pathogen; diagnosis. 

Abbreviations: AuNP, gold nanoparticle; Bio-MEMS, biomedical microelectromechanical system; ELISA, enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay; HIV, human immunodeficiency virus; ICP-MS, inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry; MB, magnetic bead; MERS-CoV, Middle East respiratory syndromerelated coronavirus; NASBA, nucleic acid sequence-based amplification; PDA, polydopamine;QCM, quartz crystal microbalance; QD, quantum dot; RSV, respiratory syncytial virus; SARS-CoV, severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus; SPR, surface plasmon resonance.

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Volume & Issue

Article Type

Review Article

How to Cite


Divya Ragupathy, Andrew W. Taylor-Robinson. (2021-05-07). "Harnessing Nanobiotechnology as a Diagnostic Tool to Improve Medical Laboratory Detection of Pathogenic Microorganisms." *Volume 5*, 1, 1-8