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Rapid microbiological testing: monitoring the development of bacterial stress.


ABSTRACT: The ability to respond to adverse environments effectively along with the ability to reproduce are sine qua non conditions for all sustainable cellular forms of life. Given the availability of an appropriate sensing modality, the ubiquity and immediacy of the stress response could form the basis for a new approach for rapid biological testing. We have found that measuring the dielectric permittivity of a cellular suspension, an easily measurable electronic property, is an effective way to monitor the response of bacterial cells to adverse conditions continuously. The dielectric permittivity of susceptible and resistant strains of Escherichia coli and Staphylococcus aureus, treated with gentamicin and vancomycin, were measured directly using differential impedance sensing methods and expressed as the Normalized Impedance Response (NIR). These same strains were also heat-shocked and chemically stressed with Triton X-100 or H(2)O(2). The NIR profiles obtained for antibiotic-treated susceptible organisms showed a strong and continuous decrease in value. In addition, the intensity of the NIR value decrease for susceptible cells varied in proportion to the amount of antibiotic added. Qualitatively similar profiles were found for the chemically treated and heat-shocked bacteria. In contrast, antibiotic-resistant cells showed no change in the NIR values in the presence of the drug to which it is resistant. The data presented here show that changes in the dielectric permittivity of a cell suspension are directly correlated with the development of a stress response as well as bacterial recovery from stressful conditions. The availability of a practical sensing modality capable of monitoring changes in the dielectric properties of stressed cells could have wide applications in areas ranging from the detection of bacterial infections in clinical specimens to antibiotic susceptibility testing and drug discovery.

SUBMITTER: Zavizion B 

PROVIDER: S-EPMC2954791 | BioStudies | 2010-01-01

REPOSITORIES: biostudies

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