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Nanoparticles from Antarctica could be used to mark tumor cells

EFEFUTURO.- Bacteria surviving under extreme conditions in Antarctic glaciers synthesize fluorescent nanoparticles that could be used to tag tumor cells and track the metastasis in different types of cancers, scientists said.

Imagen de la Antártida. EFE.

These nanoparticles are produced by microorganisms able to resist high exposure to ultraviolet light, lack of nutrients and the low temperatures on Union Glacier, located deep in Antarctica, researcher Luis Saona, of Andres Bello University’s Bioinformatics and Integrative Biology Department and the University of Chile, told EFE.

Saona is one of 15 researchers participating in this year’s Chilean scientific expedition to the Science Polar Station at latitude 70 south on the white continent, a facility operated jointly by Chile’s National Antarctic Institute, or Inach, and the military.

So far, nanoparticles were produced mostly through chemical processes involving heavy metals, such as cadmium, tellurium or mercury, which increased their toxicity and curtailed their biological applications.

A mineral that is less toxic

As a result, researchers like Saona began studying nanoparticles of copper, a mineral that is less toxic, years ago at the Bionanotechnolgy and Microbiology laboratory run by Jose Manuel Perez Donoso.

The scientists used a method they recently patented for creating nanoparticles of high luminescence.

“The challenge now is to synthetize nanoparticles in a natural manner using microorganisms able to generate these nanostructures in the presence of copper,” the Chilean scientist said. EFEfuturo
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