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Raman-dielectrophoresis goes viral: towards a rapid and label-free platform for plant virus characterization

Sacco, A., Barzan, G., Matic, S., Giovannozzi, A. M., Rossi, A. M., D'Errico, C., Vallino M., Ciuffo, M., Noris, E., & Portesi, E.C.

Frontiers in Microbiology, 2023, 14, 1292461


November 22, 2023

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An innovative spectroscopic method that allows to chemically and structurally characterize viruses directly in suspension within few minutes was developed. A library of five different plant viruses was obtained combining dielectrophoresis (DEP), performed with a device specifically designed to capture and agglomerate virus particles, and Raman spectroscopy to provide a chemical fingerprint of virions. The tested viruses, purified from infected plants, were chosen for their economic impact on horticultural crops and for their different morphological and structural features. Using the Raman-DEP device, specific profiles for each virus were successfully obtained, relying on chemical differences occurring even with genetically similar viruses belonging to the same taxonomic species and morphologically indiscernible by transmission electron microscopy (TEM). Moreover, we investigated the potentiality of Raman-DEP to follow dynamic changes occurring upon heat treatment of tobacco mosaic virus (TMV) particles. Raman peak deviations linked to TMV coat protein conformation were observed upon treatment at temperatures equal or higher than 85°C, substantiating the rod-to-spherical shape transitions observed by TEM and the concomitant drastic loss of infectivity following plant inoculation. Overall, the Raman-DEP method can be useful for the characterization of virus (nano)particles, setting the basis to create a database suitable for the study of viruses or virus derived-nanoparticles relevant for the agricultural, medical, or biotechnological fields.

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Spoke 02

Smart and circular food system and distribution

To valorize food waste and smart and virtuous logistics

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Spoke leaderAntonio Moretti