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October 1, 2007

Nanotubes Imaged In Fruit Fly Larvae

Using near-infrared fluorescence imaging, scientists at Rice University have managed to sneak a peek at single-walled carbon nanotubes (SWNTs) inside the bodies of living fruit fly larvae (Nano Lett. 2007, 7, 2650). It's the first time anyone has observed carbon nanotubes inside a living creature, according to principal investigators Kathleen M. Beckingham and R. Bruce Weisman, who think the technique could be useful for diagnosing diseases. The Rice team first fed Drosophila melanogaster larvae a steady diet of water-solubilized SWNTs. The researchers then used a near-infrared microscope and special camera to image SWNTs without harming the larvae. Neither the adult flies' viability nor their growth was reduced by ingesting the tubes. They also found that a small fraction—approximately 10-8—of the ingested nanotubes were incorporated into the flies' organs, which suggests that SWNTs may have a negligible physiological impact on the insects.

Chemical & Engineering News
ISSN 0009-2347
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