Low-cost, Sensitive SERS Substrate to Detect Rotavirus in Clinical Stool Samples


A new study has developed a low-cost, sensitive SERS substrate using silver nanoparticle functionalized paper for the detection and analysis of rotavirus in clinical stool samples.

Led by Pabitra Nath, researchers at Tezpur University in India have developed a low-cost surface-enhanced Raman scattering (SERS) substrate that can detect rotavirus in clinical stool samples. The team fabricated the SERS substrate by drop-casting silver nanoparticles onto a printing-grade paper. They extracted rotavirus particles from clinical stool samples and confirmed their presence using various techniques including enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA), polymerase chain reaction (PCR), and sequencing. The Raman signals from the paper-based SERS substrate significantly enhanced the characteristic Raman peaks of the rotavirus particles in solution.

Rotaviruses. Molecular model of a rotavirus which causes diarrheal infection in children. 3D illustration | Image Credit: © Dr_Microbe - stock.adobe.com

Rotaviruses. Molecular model of a rotavirus which causes diarrheal infection in children. 3D illustration | Image Credit: © Dr_Microbe - stock.adobe.com

Surface-enhanced Raman scattering (SERS) is a technique that enhances the Raman signal by orders of magnitude using a roughened or nanostructured metallic surface. When light interacts with the metallic surface, it produces localized surface plasmon resonances (LSPRs), which amplify the electromagnetic field and enhance Raman scattering of nearby molecules. SERS enhances the Raman signal in two ways: by increasing the excitation laser field intensity, and by enhancing the Raman scattering of molecules adsorbed on or near the metallic surface. SERS is highly sensitive, with the ability to detect molecules at the femtomolar level, making it a useful tool in various fields such as chemistry, biology, and material science. The SERS effect is influenced by several factors, including the size and shape of the metallic substrate, the wavelength and polarization of the incident light, and the distance between the molecule and the metallic surface.

The proposed SERS substrate is highly sensitive and can detect rotavirus samples with a concentration as low as 1% using a Raman spectrometer. This cost-efficient platform may find applications in other research and clinical laboratories as well.

Rotavirus is the leading cause of severe diarrhea in children worldwide, and early detection is critical to prevent its spread. The study, published in Spectrochimica Acta Part A: Molecular and Biomolecular Spectroscopy, highlights the potential of this SERS substrate for rapid, low-cost, and sensitive detection of rotavirus in clinical settings (1).

This research demonstrates the potential of SERS technology for the detection of rotavirus, which is a critical public health issue. This low-cost, simple and effective method has the potential to be a game-changer for the detection of rotavirus and other viral infections in clinical settings.


(1) Biswas, S.; Devi, Y. D.; Sarma, D.; Hatiboruah, D.; Chamuah, N.; Namsa, N. D.; Nath, P. Detection and Analysis of Rotavirus in Clinical Stool Samples Using Silver Nanoparticle Functionalized Paper as SERS Substrate. Spectrochim. Acta A Mol. Biomol. Spectrosc. 2023, 295, 122610. DOI: 10.1016/j.saa.2023.122610

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