Bacterial identification gets a culture shock

Written for Chemistry World

Scientists in the UK have developed a new tool to distinguish bacterial strains from each other. This speedy method could help to minimise drug resistance by accurately directing antibiotic treatment at an early stage.

Antimicrobial resistance is a major health concern and its risk is growing evermore due to a lack of both new drugs and rapid point-of-care diagnostic tools to ensure best use of the drugs in hand. ‘Innovative solutions to identifying pathogens can be found – which is really needed as antibiotic resistance spreads – if different fields work together,’ explains Matthew Gibson from the University of Warwick, whose group developed the new diagnostic tool.

Current point-of-care methods to identify bacteria require culturing bacteria to grow them to higher density – a very slow process. New sequencing technologies are faster, but still require hours and special equipment. Gibson’s method makes use of adhesion between bacteria and other cells. Many bacteria bind to cells through protein or carbohydrate structures exposed on the surface of the bacterium called adhesins. Each bacterial strain has a very specific pattern of adhesins and therefore binds with different strength to different sugar-bearing cell surfaces.


Read the full story in Chemistry World


Read the original journal article in Molecular BioSystems – it is open access.

Discrimination between bacterial species by ratiometric analysis of their carbohydrate binding profile
L. Otten, E. Fullam and M. I. Gibson, Mol. Biosyst., 2016, Advance Article
DOI: 10.1039/C5MB00720H, Communication

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One Response to “Bacterial identification gets a culture shock”

  1. vemaybay says:

    Excellen. Thanks

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