Antimicrobial Susceptibility Test with Plasmonic Imaging and Tracking of Single Bacterial Motions on Nanometer Scale

ACS Nano. 2016 Jan 26;10(1):845-52. doi: 10.1021/acsnano.5b05944. Epub 2015 Dec 8.


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.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / pharmacology*
  • Cells, Immobilized / drug effects*
  • Cells, Immobilized / physiology
  • Escherichia coli / drug effects*
  • Escherichia coli / physiology
  • Microbial Sensitivity Tests / instrumentation
  • Microbial Sensitivity Tests / methods*
  • Motion
  • Optical Imaging / instrumentation
  • Optical Imaging / methods
  • Surface Plasmon Resonance
  • Surface Properties


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents