Discrimination between pathogenic and non-pathogenic E. coli strains by means of Raman microspectroscopy
in: Analytical and Bioanalytical Chemistry (2020)
Bacteria can be harmless commensals, beneficial probiotics, or harmful pathogens. Therefore, mankind is challenged to detect and identify bacteria in order to prevent or treat bacterial infections. Examples are identification of species for treatment of infection in clinics and E. coli cell counting for water quality monitoring. Finally, in some instances, the pathogenicity of a species is of interest. The main strategies to investigate pathogenicity are detection of target genes which encode virulence factors. Another strategy could be based on phenotypic identification. Raman spectroscopy is a promising phenotypic method, which offers high sensitivities and specificities for the identification of bacteria species. In this study, we evaluated whether Raman microspectroscopy could be used to determine the pathogenicity of E. coli strains. We used Raman spectra of seven non-pathogenic and seven pathogenic E. coli strains to train a PCA-SVM model. Then, the obtained model was tested by identifying the pathogenicity of three additional E. coli strains. The pathogenicity of these three strains could be correctly identified with a mean sensitivity of 77%, which is suitable for a fast screening of pathogenicity of single bacterial cells.