Triacetylfusarinine C (TAFC) is a siderophore produced by certain fungal species and might serve as a highly useful biomarker for the fast diagnosis of invasive aspergillosis. Due to its renal elimination, the biomarker is found in urine samples of patients suffering from Aspergillus infections. Accordingly, non-invasive diagnosis from this easily obtainable body fluid is possible. Within our contribution, we demonstrate how Raman microspectroscopy enables a sensitive and specific detection of TAFC. We characterized the TAFC iron complex and its iron-free form using conventional and interference-enhanced Raman spectroscopy (IERS) and compared the spectra with the related compound ferrioxamine B, which is produced by bacterial species. Even though IERS only offers a moderate enhancement of the Raman signal, the employment of respective substrates allowed lowering the detection limit to reach the clinically relevant range. The achieved limit of detection using IERS was 0.5 ng of TAFC, which is already well within the clinically relevant range. By using an extraction protocol, we were able to detect 1.4 μg/mL TAFC via IERS from urine within less than 3 h including sample preparation and data analysis. We could further show that TAFC and ferrioxamine B can be clearly distinguished by means of their Raman spectra even in very low concentrations.
Keywords: Aspergillosis; Biomarkers; Infectious diseases; Interference-enhanced Raman spectroscopy; Raman spectroscopy; Siderophores.