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Spectrophotometric characterization of hemozoin as a malaria biomarker
Author(s): Ivo Silva; Rui Lima; Graça Minas; Susana O. Catarino
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Paper Abstract

Malaria is a parasitic disease with more than a billion people worldwide at risk of contraction. The disease is predominantly widespread in regions with precarious healthcare conditions and resources. Despite the several available malaria diagnostic methods, only two are predominantly used in the field in malaria-endemic countries: microscopy and rapid diagnostic tests. In this work, an alternative diagnostic system is proposed, based on optical absorption spectrophotometry. The main objective of this paper is the spectrophotometric study of hemozoin as a malaria biomarker, since it is a sub-product of the malaria infection. The optical absorbance of hemoglobin and hemozoin solutions in purified water was measured in the visible spectrum range using a spectrophotometric setup. The results showed main absorbance peaks at 540 nm and 574 nm for hemoglobin, and at 672 nm for hemozoin. The tests performed in aqueous solutions have shown that both hemoglobin and synthetic hemozoin, when alone in solution, were detected by absorbance, with sensitivity of 0.05 g/L, and with a high linearity (R2> 0.92 for all wavelength peaks). Furthermore, it was found that the whole blood and the hemoglobin spectra have similar absorption peaks. By combining whole blood and synthetic hemozoin solutions, it was proved that both the hemozoin and the hemoglobin absorbance peaks could still be detected by spectrophotometry. For instance, in polydimethylsiloxane wells, the proposed method was able to detect hemozoin in whole blood samples for optical paths as low as 3 mm in cylindrical wells, thus proving the capability for this method’s miniaturization. With this work, it is possible to conclude that hemozoin is a viable candidate as a biomarker for malaria detection by optical absorption spectrophotometry and also, that an autonomous, fully integrated and low cost miniaturized system, based on such a principle, could provide an efficient diagnosis of malaria.

Paper Details

Date Published: 22 August 2017
PDF: 8 pages
Proc. SPIE 10453, Third International Conference on Applications of Optics and Photonics, 1045304 (22 August 2017); doi: 10.1117/12.2270995
Show Author Affiliations
Ivo Silva, Univ. of Minho (Portugal)
Rui Lima, Univ. of Minho (Portugal)
Univ. of Porto (Portugal)
Graça Minas, Univ. of Minho (Portugal)
Susana O. Catarino, Univ. of Minho (Portugal)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 10453:
Third International Conference on Applications of Optics and Photonics
Manuel Filipe P. C. M. Martins Costa, Editor(s)

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