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Tuesday, 13 August 2019 | Pioneer

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The Indian Institute of Technology-Guwahati researchers have developed a low-cost, hand-held device to detect bacteria. This research will enable rapid detection of bacteria, which is important not only in healthcare, but also in anti-bioterrorism measures and environmental monitoring applications.

Bacterial infection is a common cause of morbidity and mortality worldwide and despite development of a range of antibiotics, the challenge continues to lie in detecting and diagnosing bacterial infection early on, as present detection techniques tend to be time-consuming.

The research team led by Prof Parameswar K Iyer, Department of Chemistry, and Prof Siddhartha S Ghosh, Department of Biosciences and Bioengineering, IIT Guwahati, has developed this novel, low-cost, bio-compatible sensor that can detect bacteria almost instantaneously without the need for cell culture and microbiological assays. The Organic Field Effect Transistor (OFET)-based bacterial diagnostic device has been shown to have the ability to detect 103 cfu mL-1 of bacteria and distinguish between Gram positive and Gram negative types.

Their work has been patented as well as published in the July 2019 issue of the peer-reviewed Journal of Materials Chemistry A of the Royal Society of Chemistry.

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.

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