Inappropriate antibiotic use is a major factor contributing to the emergence and spread of antimicrobial resistance. The long turnaround time (over 24 hours) required for clinical antimicrobial susceptibility testing (AST) often results in patients being prescribed empiric therapies, which may be inadequate, inappropriate, or overly broad-spectrum. A reduction in the AST time may enable more appropriate therapies to be prescribed earlier. Here we report on a new diagnostic asynchronous magnetic bead rotation (AMBR) biosensor droplet microfluidic platform that enables single cell and small cell population growth measurements for applications aimed at rapid AST. We demonstrate the ability to rapidly measure bacterial growth, susceptibility, and the minimum inhibitory concentration (MIC) of a small uropathogenic Escherichia coli population that was confined in microfluidic droplets and exposed to concentrations above and below the MIC of gentamicin. Growth was observed below the MIC, and no growth was observed above the MIC. A 52% change in the sensor signal (i.e. rotational period) was observed within 15 minutes, thus allowing AST measurements to be performed potentially within minutes.
This journal is © The Royal Society of Chemistry 2011