Researchers at U.C. Berkeley think they may have found a faster, cheaper way to identify anthrax.
In a study published yesterday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, U.C. physicists reveal that a microbe closely related to anthrax was found to swell with increased humidity.
That physical change might allow quicker detection of spores from the Bacillus family, including anthrax. It could cut detection time from as long as 24-hours to just minutes. The study showed the swelling of spores of a bacterium often used to kill insects that attack crops. The findings may be matched by all Bacillus spores and could let scientists distinguish between different types of Bacillus.