In the fight against drug-resistant bacteria, accurate and high-throughput detection is essential. Here, a bimaterial microcantilever with an embedded microfluidic channel with internal surfaces chemically or physically functionalized with receptors selectively captures the bacteria passing through the channel. Bacterial adsorption inside the cantilever results in changes in the resonance frequency (mass) and cantilever deflection (adsorption stress). The excitation of trapped bacteria using infrared radiation (IR) causes the cantilever to deflect in proportion to the infrared absorption of the bacteria, providing a nanomechanical infrared spectrum for selective identification. We demonstrate the in situ detection and discrimination of Listeria monocytogenes at a concentration of single cell per μl. Trapped Escherichia coli in the microchannel shows a distinct nanomechanical response when exposed to antibiotics. This approach, which combines enrichment with three different modes of detection, can serve as a platform for the development of a portable, high-throughput device for use in the real-time detection of bacteria and their response to antibiotics.
Etayash, H., Khan, M. F., Kaur, K., & Thundat, T. (2016). Microfluidic cantilever detects bacteria and measures their susceptibility to antibiotics in small confined volumes. Nature Communications, 7. https://doi.org/10.1038/ncomms12947