Cross-Flow Filtration of Escherichia coli at a Nanofluidic Gap for Fast Immobilization and Antibiotic Susceptibility Testing
Infections with antimicrobial-resistant (AMR) bacteria are globally on the rise. In the future, multi-resistant infections will become one of the major problems in global health care. In order to enable reserve antibiotics to retain their effect as long as possible, broad-spectrum antibiotics must be used sparingly. This can be achieved by a rapid microfluidic phenotypic antibiotic susceptibility test, which provides the information needed for a targeted antibiotic therapy in less time than conventional tests. Such microfluidic tests must cope with a low bacteria concentration. On-chip filtering of the samples to accumulate bacteria can shorten the test time. By means of fluorescence microscopy, we examined a novel nanogap filtration principle to hold back Escherichia coli and to perform cultivation experiments with and without antibiotics present. Microfluidic chips based on the nanogap flow principle showed to be useful for the concentration and cultivation of E. coli. With a concentration of 106 cells/mL, a specific growth rate of 0.013 min−1 and a doubling time of 53 min were achieved. In the presence of an antibiotic, no growth was observed. The results prove that this principle can, in future, be used in fast and marker-free antimicrobial susceptibility testing (AST).