Fluid-Screen as a real time dielectrophoretic method for universal microbial capture

Sci Rep. 2021 Nov 15;11(1):22222. doi: 10.1038/s41598-021-01600-z.


Bacterial culture methods, e.g. Plate Counting Method (PCM), are a gold standard in the assessment of microbial contamination in multitude of human industries. They are however slow, labor intensive, and prone to manual errors. Dielectrophoresis (DEP) has shown great promise for particle separation for decades; however, it has not yet been widely applied in routine laboratory setting. This paper provides an overview of a new DEP microbial capture and separation method called Fluid-Screen (FS), that achieves very fast, efficient, reliable and repeatable capture and separation of microbial cells. Method verification experiments demonstrated that the FS system captured 100% of bacteria in test samples, a capture efficiency much higher than previously reported for similar technology. Data generated supports the superiority of the FS method as compared to the established Plate Counting Method (PCM), that is routinely used to detect bacterial contamination in healthcare, pharmacological and food industries. We demonstrate that the FS method is universal and can capture and separate different species of bacteria and fungi to viruses, from various sample matrices (i.e. human red blood cells, mammalian cells).