Label-free molecular detection of antibiotic susceptibility for Mycobacterium smegmatis using a low cost electrode format

Biotechnol Appl Biochem. 2020 Sep 25. doi: 10.1002/bab.2037. Online ahead of print.

Abstract

Today, the emergence of antibiotic resistance in pathogenic bacteria is considered an important problem for society. Excessive consumption of antibiotics, long-term treatments, and inappropriate prescriptions continually increase the severity of the problem. Improving antibiotic stewardship requires improved diagnostic testing, and, therefore, in vitro antibiotic susceptibility testing is becoming increasingly important. This research details the development of an antibiotic susceptibility test for Mycobacterium smegmatis using streptomycin as antibiotics. This strain was selected because it is a member of the slow growing Mycobacterium genus and serves as a useful surrogate organism for M. tuberculosis. A commercially available and low-cost screen-printed gold electrode in combination with a specifically developed nucleic acid probe sequence for the 16SrRNA region of the mycobacterial genome was employed to monitor M. smegmatis nucleic acid sequences using the techniques of square-wave voltammetry and electrochemical impedance spectroscopy. The results show that it was possible to detect M. smegmatis sequences and distinguish antibiotic-treated cells from untreated cells with a label-free molecular detection. As a result, the in vitro antibiotic susceptibility test revealed that M. smegmatis showed sensitivity to streptomycin after a 24-H incubation, with the developed protocol representing a potential approach to determining antibiotic susceptibility more quickly and economically than current methods.

Keywords: antibiotic susceptibility; antimicrobial resistance; electrochemical biosensors; electrochemical impedance spectroscopy; square-wave voltammetry.