A minisonicator to rapidly disrupt bacterial spores for DNA analysis

Anal Chem. 1999 Oct 1;71(19):4232-6. doi: 10.1021/ac990347o.


Concerns about the use of anthrax spores as a weapon of mass destruction have motivated the development of portable instruments capable of detecting and monitoring a suspected release of the agent. Optimal detection of bacterial spores by PCR requires that the spores be disrupted to make the endogenous DNA available for amplification. The entire process of spore lysis, PCR, and detection can take several hours using conventional methods and instruments. In this report, a minisonicator and prototype spore lysis cartridge were built to disrupt Bacillus spores in 30 s for rapid, real-time PCR analysis. Utilization of the minisonicator improved PCR analysis by decreasing the limit of detection, reducing the time of detection, and increasing the signal amplitude. Total time of spore disruption and detection using the minisonicator and a microchip PCR instrument was less than 15 min.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Bacillus anthracis / genetics
  • DNA, Bacterial / analysis*
  • Flow Cytometry
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction / methods*
  • Sonication / instrumentation*
  • Spores, Bacterial / genetics*
  • Time Factors


  • DNA, Bacterial