Raman chip identifies and inactivates bacteria

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  • Published: May 4, 2015
  • Author: Steve Down
  • Channels: Raman

A new chip for surface-enhanced Raman spectroscopy (SERS) has been designed to capture, identify and inactivate pathogenic bacteria in one step and works effectively with human blood.

Bacterial infections account for more than 300 million serious annual cases throughout the world with an estimated 2 million deaths. Clearly, early diagnoses will give patient a better chance of treatment and survival and the new system devised by scientists at Soochow University in China collects sufficient bacteria from solutions like blood within 20 minutes to allow their analysis.

The novel system is based on a silicon chip that has been coated with silver nanoparticles and modified with 4-mercaptophenylboronic acid, which captures four times as many bacteria on its surface as the unmodified silver surface. The capture remains efficient at low bacterial concentration of 500-2000 CFU/mL. SERS analysis of the bacteria produced distinctive spectra for Escherichia coli and Staphylococcus aureus corresponding to their protein components.

The chip has the added advantage that it acts as an antibacterial surface due to the activity of the silver particles, with a deactivation rate of 97%, as discussed in Angewandte Chemie International Edition.

"Given that this class of SERS chip can be fabricated in a facile and low-cost manner, we envision that such chips will be useful for widespread practical applications," declared the research team. "Our findings suggest promising opportunities for the development of high-efficacy multifunctional platforms for the simultaneous detection and inactivation of pathogenic bacteria in clinical or environmental samples."

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