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Biosensor that detects antibiotic resistance brings us one step closer to fighting superbugs

Date:
May 8, 2013
Source:
Journal of Visualized Experiments (JOVE)
Summary:
New research demonstrates how a biosensor can detect antibiotic resistance in bacteria. This new technology is a preliminary step in identifying and fighting superbugs, a major public health concern that has led to more deaths than AIDS in the United States in recent years.

On May 8th JoVE will publish research that demonstrates how a biosensor can detect antibiotic resistance in bacteria. This new technology is a preliminary step in identifying and fighting superbugs, a major public health concern that has led to more deaths than AIDS in the United States in recent years.

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The technology is the result of collaboration between Dr. Vitaly Vodyanoy at Auburn University and the Keesler Air Force Base with funding from the United States Air Force.

Louis Pasteur and Robert Koch first characterized antibiosis, the ability for a chemical to kill bacterial cells, in 1877. Since then, the medical and biochemical communities have made great advances in the treatment of bacterial infections. These advances have helped reduce childhood mortality and have contributed to the population growth of the 20th Century. However, natural selection has allowed antibiotic resistant bacteria to flourish and propagate, and continued exposure has lead to the evolution of "superbugs" that are resistant to multiple types of antibiotics.

"Antibiotic resistant bacteria is a serious problem," Dr. Vodyanoy says. "It is very important [when treating a patient] to distinguish between normal and resistant bacteria; if you have a case of resistance you have to take special measures to cure it."

Dr. Vodyanoy's technology takes advantage of bacteriophages, simple viruses that can target and kill bacteria. A bacteriophage, when combined with specific antibodies, can be used to produce a physical color change in a sample that indicates antibiotic resistance. This technology will be invaluable to clinicians trying to treat patients and disinfect hospital facilities.

Specifically, this technique targets antibiotic resistant Staphylococcus, one of the first pathogens characterized as a superbug. Staphylococcus, commonly referred to as staph, often is a bothersome skin condition cured with common antibiotics. However, variations of the staph bacteria can turn deadly when infecting immune-compromised patients or internal organs like lungs and the respiratory tract. The disease is of particular concern to hospitals, prisons, and branches of the military, where individuals are at risk for infection from unhygienic close quarters.

"In our method, we can determine bacterial antibiotic resistance in 10-12 minutes, while other methods take hours," Dr. Vodyanoy explains. Alternative methods used to detect antibiotic resistance need time-intensive purification steps before multi-hour sequencing protocols. "We envision a future where clinicians do tests with real blood or saliva samples. The virus is completely benign to humans, and we hope to use it to make antimicrobial surfaces and glassware that kill the bacteria."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Journal of Visualized Experiments (JOVE). Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Rajesh Guntupalli, Iryna Sorokulova, Eric Olsen, Ludmila Globa, Oleg Pustovyy, Vitaly Vodyanoy. Biosensor for Detection of Antibiotic Resistant Staphylococcus Bacteria. Journal of Visualized Experiments, 2013; (75) DOI: 10.3791/50474

Cite This Page:

Journal of Visualized Experiments (JOVE). "Biosensor that detects antibiotic resistance brings us one step closer to fighting superbugs." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 8 May 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/05/130508102552.htm>.
Journal of Visualized Experiments (JOVE). (2013, May 8). Biosensor that detects antibiotic resistance brings us one step closer to fighting superbugs. ScienceDaily. Retrieved February 1, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/05/130508102552.htm
Journal of Visualized Experiments (JOVE). "Biosensor that detects antibiotic resistance brings us one step closer to fighting superbugs." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/05/130508102552.htm (accessed February 1, 2015).

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