• Label-Free Electrochemical Sensor for Rapid Bacterial Pathogen Detection Using Vancomycin-Modified Highly Branched Polymers

      Schulze, H.; Wilson, H.; Cara, I.; Carter, Steven; Dyson, Edward N.; Elangovan, R.; Rimmer, Stephen; Bachmann, T.T. (MDPI, 2021-03-08)
      Rapid point of care tests for bacterial infection diagnosis are of great importance to reduce the misuse of antibiotics and burden of antimicrobial resistance. Here, we have successfully combined a new class of non-biological binder molecules with electrochemical impedance spectroscopy (EIS)-based sensor detection for direct, label-free detection of Gram-positive bacteria making use of the specific coil-to-globule conformation change of the vancomycin-modified highly branched polymers immobilized on the surface of gold screen-printed electrodes upon binding to Gram-positive bacteria. Staphylococcus carnosus was detected after just 20 min incubation of the sample solution with the polymer-functionalized electrodes. The polymer conformation change was quantified with two simple 1 min EIS tests before and after incubation with the sample. Tests revealed a concentration dependent signal change within an OD600 range of Staphylococcus carnosus from 0.002 to 0.1 and a clear discrimination between Gram-positive Staphylococcus carnosus and Gram-negative Escherichia coli bacteria. This exhibits a clear advancement in terms of simplified test complexity compared to existing bacteria detection tests. In addition, the polymer-functionalized electrodes showed good storage and operational stability.