Antimicrobial susceptibility tests (ASTs) are important for confirming susceptibility to empirical antibiotics and detecting resistance in bacterial isolates. Currently, most ASTs performed in clinical microbiology laboratories are based on bacterial culturing, which take days to complete for slowly growing microorganisms. A faster AST will reduce morbidity and mortality rates and help healthcare providers administer narrow spectrum antibiotics at the earliest possible treatment stage. We report the development of a nonculture-based AST using a plasmonic imaging and tracking (PIT) technology. We track the motion of individual bacterial cells tethered to a surface with nanometer (nm) precision and correlate the phenotypic motion with bacterial metabolism and antibiotic action. We show that antibiotic action significantly slows down bacterial motion, which can be quantified for development of a rapid phenotypic-based AST.
Keywords: bacterial metabolism; bacterial nanomotion; culture-free antimicrobial susceptibility tests; plasmonic imaging and tracking; real-time antimicrobial susceptibility tests; surface plasmon resonance microscopy.