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A New Take on an Old Favorite

The current method of identifying bacterial infections in hospitals involves petri dishes filled with agar and lots of patience, says Technology Review's Lauren Gravitz. But a new type of diagnostic using nanopore membranes takes the petri dish to the next level, and allows for the identification of bacteria up to five times faster than conventional methods, the company says. The new technology is from the Ohio-based company Nanologix, Gravitz says, and it "speeds up the process by wicking bacteria and viruses through the pores of its membrane, aiding growth." Then the membrane can be taken off the agar and placed on a staining plate for identification of the organisms present. There are already technologies available that work faster to identify organisms than these nanopore plates, Gravitz says. PCR, for example, can do the job in about 30 minutes. But those machines can cost a lot of money, and aren't always available in small hospitals. The Nanologix kits, on the other hand, cost between $5 and $10, she adds. The company says it has tests for E. coli, salmonella, listeria, and others, and plans to submit tests for streptococcus and other gram-positive bacteria to FDA later this year.

The Scan

Pig Organ Transplants Considered

The Wall Street Journal reports that the US Food and Drug Administration may soon allow clinical trials that involve transplanting pig organs into humans.

'Poo-Bank' Proposal

Harvard Medical School researchers suggest people should bank stool samples when they are young to transplant when they later develop age-related diseases.

Spurred to Develop Again

New Scientist reports that researchers may have uncovered why about 60 percent of in vitro fertilization embryos stop developing.

Science Papers Examine Breast Milk Cell Populations, Cerebral Cortex Cellular Diversity, Micronesia Population History

In Science this week: unique cell populations found within breast milk, 100 transcriptionally distinct cell populations uncovered in the cerebral cortex, and more.