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Italian scientists discover new 'magnetic' bacteria

Crystals could transport medicinal drugs directly into cells

Italian scientists discover new 'magnetic' bacteria

(ANSA) - Rome, October 16 - Italian scientists have discovered a new kind of 'magnetic' bacteria that could be used to transport medicinal drugs directly into ailing cells. Researchers at the National Institute of Geophysics and Vulcanology have identified a chain of pure magnetite crystals in the bacteria 'Magnetobrivio blakemorei', discovered by a group of US reserachers near the mouth of the river Neponset in Massachusetts. Each crystal measures between 20 and 50 nanometres, over 10 times the diameter of the double helix in DNA. 'Magnetobrivio blakemorei' belongs to the group of magnetotactic bacteria discovered by US scientist Richard Blakemore in 1975 containing crystals that are sensitive to the earth's magnetic field. This internal 'compass' could have important applications in several fields including medicine for the transportation of pharmaceuticals directly into diseased cells.

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