Detection of antibiotic resistant Escherichia Coli bacteria using infrared microscopy and advanced multivariate analysis Academic Article uri icon


  • Bacterial resistance to antibiotics is becoming a global health-care problem. Bacteria are involved in many diseases, and antibiotics have been the most effective treatment for them. It is essential to treat an infection with an antibiotic to which the infecting bacteria is sensitive; otherwise, the treatment is not effective and may lead to life-threatening progression of disease. Classical microbiology methods that are used for determination of bacterial susceptibility to antibiotics are time consuming, accounting for problematic delays in the administration of appropriate drugs. Infrared-absorption microscopy is a sensitive and rapid method, enabling the acquisition of biochemical information from cells at the molecular level. The combination of Fourier transform infrared (FTIR) microscopy with new statistical classification methods for spectral analysis has become a powerful technique, with the ability to detect structural molecular changes associated with resistivity of bacteria to antibiotics. It was possible to differentiate between isolates of Escherichia (E.) coli that were sensitive or resistant to different antibiotics with good accuracy. The objective computational classifier, based on infrared absorption spectra, is highly sensitive to the subtle infrared spectral changes that correlate with molecular changes associated with resistivity. These changes enable differentiating between the resistant and sensitive E. coli isolates within a few minutes, following the initial culture. This study provides proof-of-concept evidence for the translational potential of this spectroscopic technique in the clinical management of bacterial infections, by characterizing and classifying antibiotic resistance in a much shorter time than possible with current standard laboratory methods.

publication date

  • January 1, 2017