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Rapid Identification of ESKAPE Bacterial Strains Using an Autonomous Microfluidic Device
Published: Friday, July 27, 2012
Author: Jack Y. Ho et al.

by Jack Y. Ho, Nate J. Cira, John A. Crooks, Josue Baeza, Douglas B. Weibel

This article describes Bacteria ID Chips (‘BacChips’): an inexpensive, portable, and autonomous microfluidic platform for identifying pathogenic strains of bacteria. BacChips consist of a set of microchambers and channels molded in the elastomeric polymer, poly(dimethylsiloxane) (PDMS). Each microchamber is preloaded with mono-, di-, or trisaccharides and dried. Pressing the layer of PDMS into contact with a glass coverslip forms the device; the footprint of the device in this article is ~6 cm2. After assembly, BacChips are degased under large negative pressure and are stored in vacuum-sealed plastic bags. To use the device, the bag is opened, a sample containing bacteria is introduced at the inlet of the device, and the degased PDMS draws the sample into the central channel and chambers. After the liquid at the inlet is consumed, air is drawn into the BacChip via the inlet and provides a physical barrier that separates the liquid samples in adjacent microchambers. A pH indicator is admixed with the samples prior to their loading, enabling the metabolism of the dissolved saccharides in the microchambers to be visualized. Importantly, BacChips operate without external equipment or instruments. By visually detecting the growth of bacteria using ambient light after ~4 h, we demonstrate that BacChips with ten microchambers containing different saccharides can reproducibly detect the ESKAPE panel of pathogens, including strains of: Enterococcus faecalis, Enteroccocus faecium, Staphylococcus aureus, Klebsiella pneumoniae, Acinetobacter baumannii, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Enterobacter aerogenes, and Enterobacter cloacae. This article describes a BacChip for point-of-care detection of ESKAPE pathogens and a starting point for designing multiplexed assays that identify bacterial strains from clinical samples and simultaneously determine their susceptibility to antibiotics.