Optical Microscopy – Rapid Antibiotic Susceptibility Testing

Using optical microscopy, researchers have created a new and very effective technique for quickly assessing the antibiotic susceptibility of samples. The process, known as “Optical Nanomotion Detection,” is incredibly quick, sensitive to single cells, label-free, and calls for a straightforward standard optical microscope fitted with a camera or a cell phone.

Antibiotic resistance occurs when germs learn to resist the medications intended to kill them. It has now developed into a problem of worldwide public health.

Antibiotic sensitivity testing (AST) uses genetic techniques to check for resistance-granting genes in bacteria or culture methods to subject bacteria to antibiotics. In a clinical setting, the length of a typical AST, which can be up to 24 hours or even longer for slow-growing bacteria, can make the difference between life and death. Recently, some speedier ASTs have been developed, although they are typically complex and require high-end, expensive equipment.

Researchers have created a quick, affordable, and widely available optical microscopy-based technique to perform an AST with single-cell sensitivity without attaching or labeling bacteria. A standard optical microscope, camera or cell phone, and special software are all required.

Monitoring single bacterial nanoscale vibrations before and after antibiotic exposure is the basis of the novel optical nanomotion detection (ONMD) technology. A simple optical microscope, a video camera, or a smartphone are used for the monitoring.

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