Measuring the Mass of Nanoparticles and Viruses

Measuring the Mass of Nanoparticles and Viruses

Author: David Bradley

Researchers at the Academia Sinica in Taiwan have developed a mass spectrometric technique to allow them to bridge the gap between the 1,000,000 dalton and the 1,000,000,000 dalton mass range, the 1 MDa to 1 GDa. The new technique involves charge-detection of laser-induced acoustic desorption (LIAD) mass spectrometry (MS).
The team suggests the technique will not only boost nanoparticle research but might be used to monitor drug-delivery vehicles with masses in this range.

The team has demonstrated proof of principle with nanoparticles and used the technique to determine for the first time the mass distribution of a virus sample, in this case HIV-based lentiviruses. A 10 % distribution was seen which implies that the protein and nucleic acid composition can vary quite considerably.

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