A state-of-the art low-cost hand-held device that will help doctors and scientists to detect bacteria instantly without depending on the cell culture and microbiological assays has been developed by the rsearchers from Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Guwahati.
At present, the detection of bacteria in body fluids is done in laboratories. The cells that are derived from the patient are initially cultured or grown so that enough of the bacterial cells are available for microbiological analysis.
Since the conventional is process is considered to be time-consuming, the Organic Field Effect Transistor (OFET)-based bacterial diagnostic device will enable rapid detection of bacteria, which is important not only in healthcare, but also in anti-bioterrorism measures and environmental monitoring applications, said the researchers
The research team led by Professor Parameswar K Iyer, Department of Chemistry, and Professor Siddhartha S Ghosh, Department of Biosciences and Bioengineering, IIT Guwahati, has developed this bio-compatible sensor that can detect bacteria almost instantaneously without the need for cell culture and microbiological assays.
The portable bacterial detection kit which has been shown to have the ability to detect 103 cfu mL?1 of bacteria and distinguish between Gram positive and Gram negative types has been patented and published in the July 2019 issue of theJournal of Materials Chemistry A of the Royal Society of Chemistry.
Explaining the need to develop faster and easier methods to detect bacteria, Prof Iyer said, "Current diagnostic processes are frustratingly time-consuming, especially when time is of the essence in administering treatment.
"While newly developed techniques such as real time qPCR can detect bacteria faster than conventional assay-based methods, they are restricted by the need for expensive apparatuses and trained personnel. What would be useful are hand-held rapid detection kits like those used for blood sugar monitoring and pregnancy detection."
The other researchers include Dr Anamika Dey, Dr Ashish Singh, Dr Deepanjalee Dutta (all three former PhD scholars from Center for Nanotechnology, IITG).
Prof. Ghosh said, "It is known that Gram positive bacteria such as S. pneumoniae, have different cell wall compositions than Gram negative bacteria such as the common E. coli. Such asymmetric cell wall organizations could alter flow of electrons at the channel of OFETs during their detection".
The OFET device consists of hybrid tri-layer dielectric system built on simple glass and flexible PET (a kind of plastic) substrates, and can operate at ultra-low operating voltages.