Rapid antibiotic susceptibility testing using low-cost, commercially available screen-printed electrodes

Hannah, Stuart and Addington, Emily and Alcorn, David and Shu, Wenmiao and Hoskisson, Paul A. and Corrigan, Damion K. (2019) Rapid antibiotic susceptibility testing using low-cost, commercially available screen-printed electrodes. Biosensors and Bioelectronics, 145. 111696. ISSN 0956-5663 (https://doi.org/10.1016/j.bios.2019.111696)

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Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is an issue of upmost global importance, with an annually increasing mortality rate and growing economic burden. Poor antimicrobial stewardship has resulted in an abundance and diverse range of antimicrobial resistance mechanisms. To tackle AMR effectively, better diagnostic tests must be developed in order to improve antibiotic stewardship and reduce the emergence of antibiotic resistant organisms. This study employs a low-cost, commercially available screen printed electrode modified with an agarose-based hydrogel deposit to monitor bacterial growth using the techniques of electrochemical impedance spectroscopy (EIS) and differential pulse voltammetry (DPV) giving rise to a new approach to measuring susceptibility. Susceptible and drug resistant Staphylococcus aureus strains were deposited onto agarose gel modified electrodes which contained clinically important antibiotics to establish growth profiles for each bacterial strain and monitor the influence of the antibiotic on bacterial growth. The results show that S. aureus is able to grow on electrodes modified with gel containing no antibiotic, but is inhibited when the gel modified electrode is seeded with antibiotic. Conversely, methicillin-resistant S. aureus (MRSA; the drug resistant strain) is able to grow on gel modified electrodes containing clinically relevant concentrations of antibiotic. Results show rapid growth profiles, with possible time to results for antibiotic susceptibility < 45 minutes, a significant improvement on the current gold standards of at least 1-2 days.