Research Highlight

Sensor to detect cholera quickly

doi:10.1038/nindia.2013.95 Published online 19 July 2013

Researchers have fabricated a new sensor that can quickly detect Vibrio cholerae, the cholera-causing bug, in clinical samples.

Conventional diagnosis methods of cholera are based on culture of bacterium, biochemical reactions and agglutination tests against serogroup-specific antisera. The whole process of V. cholerae isolation and identification takes at least 2-3 days and during this period, the disease can spread explosively.

PCR tests takes 3-4 hours and require expertise in molecular biology. Besides this, false positivity of PCR has been reported especially in commercial assays due to cross-reactions. Therefore, rapid and sensitive diagnosis has been the need to detect the infectious disease at an early stage.

The researchers created a nanostructured Magnesium Oxide (nanoMgO) based electrochemical DNA biosensor. It exhibits a sensitivity of 16.80 nA/ng/cm2, faster than any available sensor, and has a response time of 2 seconds. It also has a lower detection limit of 59.12 ng/┬ÁL with good reproducibility.

The researchers say it could be a do-it-yourself diagnostic tool for early detection of such pathogenic diseases. They say the suggested method can be extended for diagnosis of other pathogenic diseases.


  1. Patel, M. K. et al. Nanostructured magnesium oxide biosensing platform for cholera detection. App. Phys. Lett. 102, 144106-144111 (2013)