Formation of magnetite by bacteria and its application

Atsushi Arakaki, Hidekazu Nakazawa, Michiko Nemoto, Tetsushi Mori, Tadashi Matsunaga*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

199 Citations (Scopus)


Magnetic particles offer high technological potential since they can be conveniently collected with an external magnetic field. Magnetotactic bacteria synthesize bacterial magnetic particles (BacMPs) with well-controlled size and morphology. BacMPs are individually covered with thin organic membrane, which confers high and even dispersion in aqueous solutions compared with artificial magnetites, making them ideal biotechnological materials. Recent molecular studies including genome sequence, mutagenesis, gene expression and proteome analyses indicated a number of genes and proteins which play important roles for BacMP biomineralization. Some of the genes and proteins identified from these studies have allowed us to express functional proteins efficiently onto BacMPs, through genetic engineering, permitting the preservation of the protein activity, leading to a simple preparation of functional protein-magnetic particle complexes. They were applicable to high-sensitivity immunoassay, drug screening and cell separation. Furthermore, fully automated single nucleotide polymorphism discrimination and DNA recovery systems have been developed to use these functionalized BacMPs. The nano-sized fine magnetic particles offer vast potential in new nano-techniques.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)977-999
Number of pages23
JournalJournal of the Royal Society Interface
Issue number26
Publication statusPublished - 2008 Sept 6
Externally publishedYes


  • Bacterial magnetic particles
  • Fully automated system
  • Magnetic separation
  • Magnetotactic bacteria
  • Protein display
  • Surface modification of magnetite

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Biotechnology
  • Bioengineering
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Biomaterials
  • Biochemistry


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