Dielectrophoresis assisted rapid, selective and single cell detection of antibiotic resistant bacteria with G-FETs

The rapid increase in antibiotic resistant pathogenic bacteria has become a global threat, which besides the development of new drugs, requires rapid, cheap, scalable, and accurate diagnostics. Label free biosensors relying on electrochemical, mechanical, and mass based detection of whole bacterial cells have attempted to meet these requirements. However, the trade-off between selectivity and sensitivity of such sensors remains a key challenge. In particular, point-of-care diagnostics that are able to reduce and/or prevent unneeded antibiotic prescriptions require highly specific probes with sensitive and accurate transducers that can be miniaturized and multiplexed, and that are easy to operate and cheap. Towards achieving this goal, we present a number of ad- vances in the use of graphene field effect transistors (G-FET) including the first use of peptide probes to elec- trically detect antibiotic resistant bacteria in a highly specific manner. In addition, we dramatically reduce the needed concentration for detection by employing dielectrophoresis for the first time in a G-FET, allowing us to monitor changes in the Dirac point due to individual bacterial cells. Specifically, we realized rapid binding of bacterial cells to a G-FET by electrical field guiding to the device to realize an overall 3 orders of magnitude decrease in cell-concentration enabling a single-cell detection limit, and 9-fold reduction in needed time to 5 min. Utilizing our new biosensor and procedures, we demonstrate the first selective, electrical detection of the pathogenic bacterial species Staphylococcus aureus and antibiotic resistant Acinetobacter baumannii on a single platform.

Biosensors and Bioelectronics 156 (2020) 112123