Real-time monitoring of live mycobacteria with a microfluidic acoustic-Raman platform

Vincent O. Baron, Mingzhou Chen*, Bjorn Hammarstrom, Robert J. H. Hammond, Peter Glynne-Jones, Stephen H. Gillespie*, Kishan Dholakia

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Citations (Scopus)


Tuberculosis (TB) remains a leading cause of death worldwide. Lipid rich, phenotypically antibiotic tolerant, bacteria are more resistant to antibiotics and may be responsible for relapse and the need for long-term TB treatment. We present a microfluidic system that acoustically traps live mycobacteria, M. smegmatis, a model organism for M. tuberculosis. We then perform optical analysis in the form of wavelength modulated Raman spectroscopy (WMRS) on the trapped M. smegmatis for up to eight hours, and also in the presence of isoniazid (INH). The Raman fingerprints of M. smegmatis exposed to INH change substantially in comparison to the unstressed condition. Our work provides a real-time assessment of the impact of INH on the increase of lipids in these mycobacteria, which could render the cells more tolerant to antibiotics. This microfluidic platform may be used to study any microorganism and to dynamically monitor its response to different conditions and stimuli.
Original languageEnglish
Article number236
Number of pages8
JournalCommunications Biology
Publication statusPublished - 14 May 2020


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