Rapid detection and phenotyping of pathogenic microbes is critical for administration of effective antibiotic therapies and for impeding the spread of antibiotic resistance. Here, we present a novel platform, rapid ultrasensitive detector (RUSD), that utilizes the high reflectance coefficient at high incidence angles when light travels from low- to high-refractive-index media. RUSD leverages a principle that does not require complex manufacturing, labeling, or processing steps. Utilizing RUSD, we can detect extremely low cell densities (optical density [OD] ≥ 5 × 10−7) that correspond to approximately 20 bacterial cells or a single fungal cell in the detection volume, which is nearly 4 orders of magnitude more sensitive than standard OD methods. RUSD can measure minimum inhibitory concentrations (MICs) of commonly used antibiotics against gram-negative and gram-positive bacteria, including Staphylococcus aureus, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, and Escherichia coli, within 2 to 4 h. Here, we demonstrate that antibiotic susceptibility tests for several pathogens can rapidly be performed with RUSD using both small inoculum sizes (500 cells/mL) and larger inoculum sizes (5 × 105 cells/mL) used in standard antibiotic susceptibility tests. We anticipate that the RUSD system will be particularly useful for the cases in which antibiotic susceptibility tests have to be done with a limited number of bacterial cells that are available. Its compatibility with standard antibiotic susceptibility tests, simplicity, and low cost can make RUSD a viable and rapidly deployed diagnostic tool.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
- Immunology and Microbiology(all)
- Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)