Development of a rapid, antimicrobial susceptibility test for E. coli based on low-cost, screen-printed electrodes

Stuart Hannah, Alexandra Dobrea, Perrine Lasserre, Ewen O. Blair, David Alcorn, Paul A. Hoskisson, Damion K. Corrigan

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Antibiotic resistance has been cited by the World Health Organisation (WHO) as one of the greatest threats to public health. Mitigating the spread of antibiotic resistance requires a multipronged approach with possible interventions including faster diagnostic testing and enhanced antibiotic stewardship. This study employs a low-cost diagnostic sensor test to rapidly pinpoint the correct antibiotic for treatment of infection. The sensor comprises a screen-printed gold electrode, modified with an antibiotic-seeded hydrogel to monitor bacterial growth. Electrochemical growth profiles of the common microorganism, Escherichia coli (E. coli) (ATCC 25922) were measured in the presence and absence of the antibiotic streptomycin. Results show a clear distinction between the E. coli growth profiles depending on whether streptomycin is present, in a timeframe of ≈2.5 h (p < 0.05), significantly quicker than the current gold standard of culture-based antimicrobial susceptibility testing. These results demonstrate a clear pathway to a low cost, phenotypic and reproducible antibiotic susceptibility testing technology for the rapid detection of E. coli within clinically relevant concentration ranges for conditions such as urinary tract infections.

Original languageEnglish
Article number153
Number of pages12
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 23 Oct 2020


  • antibiotic susceptability testing
  • Escherichia coli
  • electrochemistry
  • screen printed electrodes
  • streptomycin
  • growth profiles
  • real time monitoring

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