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Researchers Create Artificial Magnetic Bacteria That Can 'Turn' Food Into Natural Drugs

Update Date: May 13, 2014 10:52 AM EDT

Researchers have reportedly created a magnetic bacteria that could be added to foodstuffs which after ingestion, could help diagnose disease of the digestive system like stomach cancer. 

Researchers have incorporated magnetic particles into probiotic bacteria like those found in many other foodstuffs. These "magnetic probiotics" behave like some natural magnetic bacteria but are difficult to obtain in large quantities and have never been used in humans, according to press release.

According to researchers, the research constitutes the first use of a food as a natural drug and also as an aid in diagnosing an illness.

Inspiration to design those magnetic bacteria came from nature. Researchers looked up to magnetobacteria - an organism that naturally produces very limited numbers of internal magnets that, essentially, provide them with a means of orienting themselves as if they possessed an internal compass, the press release added.

These newly developed artificial magnetic bacteria could be used in slew of applications such as, in magnetic resonance imagining or in heating malign cells through magnetic hypothermia ultimately curing diseases like cancer.

The technology has been patented by BIOSEARCH SA - a private company. Although the project is in experimental phase, it will facilitate the use to diagnose and treat tumors and as an edible iron materials. 

Findings of the study has been published in the latest issue of Advanced Functional Materials.

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