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

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

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 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
JournalCommunications Biology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2020 Dec 1

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors thank the UK Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council for funding through grant EP/P030017/1 and fellowship EP/L025035/1. This work was also supported by the PreDiCT-TB consortium [IMI Joint undertaking grant agreement number 115337, resources of which are composed of financial contribution from the European Union’s Seventh Framework Programme (FP7/2007–2013) and EFPIA companies’ in kind contribution (] and the PanACEA consortium [funded by the European & Developing Countries Clinical Trials Partnership (EDCTP); grant agreement: TRIA-2015-1102].

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020, The Author(s).

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)


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