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The paramagnetic properties of malaria pigment, hemozoin, yield clues to a low-cost system for its trapping and determination

Roch, A., Prodéo, J., Pierart, C., Muller, R.N., Duez, P.
Talanta 2019 v.197 pp. 553-557
Plasmodium falciparum, magnetic fields, malaria, microbeads, parasitemia, parasites, spectroscopy, steel
The binding of malaria pigment, hemozoin, by a gradient magnetic field has been investigated in a manual trapping column system. Two types of magnetic filling have been tested to produce field gradients: nickel-plated steel wires, wrapped around a steel core, and superparamagnetic microbeads. The latter system allows an efficient trapping (> 80%) of β-hematin (a synthetic pigment with physical and paramagnetic properties analogous to those of hemozoin). Tests with a Plasmodium falciparum 3D7 culture indicate that hemozoin is similarly trapped. Off-line optical spectroscopy measurements present limited sensitivity as the hemozoin we detected from in vitro cultured parasites would correspond to only a theoretical 0.02% parasitemia (1000 parasites/µL). Further work needs to be undertaken to reduce this threshold to a practical detectability level. Based on these data, a magneto-chromatographic on-line system with reduced dead volumes is proposed as a possible low-cost instrument to be tested as a malaria diagnosis system.