Table of Contents
International Journal of Spectroscopy
Volume 2012, Article ID 176851, 6 pages
Research Article

Detection of Bacillus anthracis Spores Using Peptide Functionalized SERS-Active Substrates

Real-Time Analyzers Inc., Unit 8, 362 Industrial Park Road, Middletown, CT 06457, USA

Received 22 February 2012; Accepted 27 August 2012

Academic Editor: Kevin Spencer

Copyright © 2012 Atanu Sengupta et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


The need for portable technologies that can rapidly identify biological warfare agents (BWAs) in the field remains an international priority as expressed at the 2011 Biological Weapons Convention. In recent years, the ability of surface-enhanced Raman spectroscopy (SERS) to rapidly detect various BWAs at very low concentrations has been demonstrated. However, in the specific case of Bacillus anthracis, differentiation at the species level is required since other bacilli are common in the environment, representing potential false-positive responses. To overcome this limitation, we describe the use of a peptide attached to the SERS-active metal that selectively binds Bacillus anthracis-Sterne as the target analyte. Using this approach, 109  B. anthracis-Sterne spores/mL produced an intense dipicolinic acid spectrum upon the addition of acetic acid, while the same concentration and treatment of B. cereus and B. subtilis did not.