While pathogenic bacteria contribute to a large number of globally important diseases and infections, current clinical diagnosis is based on processes that often involve culturing which can be time-consuming. Therefore, innovative, simple, rapid and low-cost solutions to effectively reduce the burden of bacterial infections are urgently needed.
A research team led by the University of Bath and including scientists from the University of Manchester has developed a sensor that enables the initial screening of pathogens in a fast and inexpensive way. The sensor uses field-effect transistors that can distinguish between pathogenic and non-pathogenic bacteria.
The work was led by Dr Pedro Estrela from the Department of Electronic and Electrical Engineering and focused on the detection of uropathogenic Escherichia coli strains responsible for the great majority of urinary tract infections.
Dr Pedro Estrela from the Department of Electronic and Electrical Engineering who led the work said: "This fast, effective and inexpensive sensor can be used to support current clinical microbiology by providing high-throughput screening of pathogenic bacterial samples. Our technology can be easily implemented as an initial bacterial screening before further advanced investigations so that additional time and costs can be saved.
The large volume production of such chips will bring the assay price down, making it an attractive proposition for pathogen screening in point of care applications such as in hospitals."
The work has been published in the journal Biosensors and Bioelectronics.