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By Justin A. Daniels

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DNA spots are typically very small, on the micrometer length scale, and can be arrayed in high density with hundreds to thousands of spots present on a single array. Detection using microarrays is based on the hybridization of fluorescently labelled nucleic acids (RNA or DNA) isolated from the test matrix to these probes, and subsequent measurement of fluorescence at each spot. Microarrays allow the simultaneous detection of thousands of targets in a single assay. Thus, a single array could be used for the detection of a wide range of pathogens, virulent strains of a particular pathogen, antimicrobial resistant strains, and even molecular typing.

After hybridization, the beads are analyzed in a flow cytometer. A red laser identifies the bead, and a green laser registers if a target has been captured. , 2007). Straub et al. (2005) have developed a comprehensive system for sample preparation and pathogen detection called ―BEADS‖ (biodetection enabling analyte delivery system). This system incorporates immunomagnetic separation to capture cells for concentration and purification of the analytes, a flow through thermal cycler and detection of PCR products on a suspension array.

However, there are practical limitations in the use of microarray-based approaches including the requirement of specialized equipment and trained personnel. Automation of array systems would contribute significantly to the ease of deployment of these systems. , 2006). These arrays work on similar principles to planar microarrays, but they are rapid, cost effective, flexible and provide high reproducibility. In these systems, probes are immobilized onto solid surfaces of microspheres that are labelled with fluorophores (up to 100 colours are available) to facilitate their identification.

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