Microfluidic Technology for Antibacterial Resistance Study and Antibiotic Susceptibility Testing: Review and Perspective

ACS Sens. 2021 Jan 22;6(1):3-21. doi: 10.1021/acssensors.0c02175. Epub 2020 Dec 18.


A review on microfluidic technology for antibacterial resistance study and antibiotic susceptibility testing (AST) is presented here. Antibiotic resistance has become a global health crisis in recent decades, severely threatening public health, patient care, economic growth, and even national security. It is extremely urgent that antibiotic resistance be well looked into and aggressively combated in order for us to survive this crisis. AST has been routinely utilized in determining bacterial susceptibility to antibiotics and identifying potential resistance. Yet conventional methods for AST are increasingly incompetent due to unsatisfactory test speed, high cost, and deficient reliability. Microfluidics has emerged as a powerful and very promising platform technology that has proven capable of addressing the limitation of conventional methods and advancing AST to a new level. Besides, potential technical challenges that are likely to hinder the development of microfluidic technology aimed at AST are observed and discussed. To conclude, it is noted that (1) the translation of microfluidic innovations from laboratories to be ready AST platforms remains a lengthy journey and (2) ensuring all relevant parties engaged in a collaborative and unified mode is foundational to the successful incubation of commercial microfluidic platforms for AST.

Keywords: antibacterial resistance; antibiotic susceptibility testing; antibiotics; bacteria; bacterial cells; droplet microfluidics; drug screening; microbes; microfluidics.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Anti-Bacterial Agents* / pharmacology
  • Bacteria
  • Humans
  • Microbial Sensitivity Tests
  • Microfluidics*
  • Reproducibility of Results


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents