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Biotech Science

Researchers Use Salmon DNA To Make LED Lightbulbs 66

Posted by Soulskill
from the bright-ideas-that-smell-fishy dept.
Al writes "Researchers from the University of Connecticut have created a new light-emitting material by doping spun strands of salmon DNA with fluorescent dyes. The material, which is robust because DNA is such a strong polymer, absorbs energy from ultraviolet light and gives off different colors depending on the amounts of dye it contains. A team led by chemistry professor Gregory Sotzing created the new material by mixing salmon DNA with two types of dye, then pumping the solution from a fine needle while a voltage is applied between the needle tip and a grounded copper plate covered with a glass slide. As the liquid jet comes out, it dries and forms long nanofibers that are deposited on the glass slide as a mat. The researchers then spin this nanofiber mat directly on the surface of an ultraviolet LED to make a white-light emitter. The color-tunable DNA material relies on an energy-transfer mechanism between two different fluorescent dyes, and the DNA keeps the dye molecules separated at a distance of 2 to 10 nanometers from each other."
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Researchers Use Salmon DNA To Make LED Lightbulbs

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  • by interkin3tic (1469267) on Wednesday July 22, 2009 @01:29PM (#28784271)

    Or bacteria, which will give you orders of magnitude more DNA overnight than a week of fly collecting, and which are much easier to purify DNA from.

    This article [optics.org] also talks about using salmon DNA for lights. They had a good source:

    Steckl and colleagues used DNA from Japan. "Salmon fishing is a very large industry in Hokkaido, Japan, some 200 000 tons per year," explained Steckl. "While the meat and eggs are edible, the male roe is normally a waste product but it is very rich in DNA."

    That doesn't seem to be the same lab, and that article predates the technology review one. Maybe the Sotzing lab (featured in the technology review article) read the publications by Steckl lab (optics.org article) who used salmon DNA and decided to just use salmon DNA as they did to hurry up and publish rather than spend time seeing if salmon DNA was the only one which would do it.

    Of course, it could also have been that the Steckl lab got wind of the Sotzing lab's use of salmon DNA and just beat them to the punch. And these aren't the actual publications from either lab, so it really could be anything, they could have even collaborated. Either way, it seems like they just haven't tested other DNA, the optics.org article quotes Steckl as saying they might try other DNA.

  • by dfornika (1544099) on Wednesday July 22, 2009 @01:39PM (#28784425)
    It was most likely Salmon Sperm DNA, which is a common molecular biology reagent. If you've ever handled a spawning salmon, you know that the slightest squeeze will yield a lot of genetic material.
  • by cinnamon colbert (732724) on Wednesday July 22, 2009 @03:51PM (#28786501) Journal

    several posters have asked why salmon dna - ifyou look in a std catalog (say www.sial.com) you will see that fish dna is much cheaper then bacterial (e coli)
    this is cause each sperm cell has ~~1,000 times more dna then a bacterial cell, and sperm are easy to collect (hold the jokes) and easy to get dna out of - basically, you just put the sperm in a solution of detergent, and the dna pops out.

    but dna is pretty $$ (retail price of 48 dollars a gram in 10 gram lots at sial.com), it degrades in the environment, and typically, the organic dyes that bind to dna have greatly reduced stability compared to inorganic phosphors

    sounds like more ivory tower nonsense that will never lead to reasonably priced, cheap product

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