Detection of multi-resistant clinical strains of E. coli with Raman spectroscopy
in: Analytical and Bioanalytical Chemistry (2022)
In recent years, we have seen a steady rise in the prevalence of antibiotic-resistant bacteria. This creates many challenges in treating patients who carry these infections, as well as stopping and preventing outbreaks. Identifying these resistant bacteria is critical for treatment decisions and epidemiological studies. However, current methods for identification of resistance either require long cultivation steps or expensive reagents. Raman spectroscopy has been shown in the past to enable the rapid identification of bacterial strains from single cells and cultures. In this study, Raman spectroscopy was applied for the differentiation of resistant and sensitive strains of Escherichia coli. Our focus was on clinical multi-resistant (extendedspectrum β-lactam and carbapenem-resistant) bacteria from hospital patients. The spectra were collected using both UV resonance Raman spectroscopy in bulk and single-cell Raman microspectroscopy, without exposure to antibiotics. We found resistant strains have a higher nucleic acid/protein ratio, and used the spectra to train a machine learning model that differentiates resistant and sensitive strains. In addition, we applied a majority of voting system to both improve the accuracy of our models and make them more applicable for a clinical setting. This method could allow rapid and accurate identification of antibiotic resistant bacteria, and thus improve public health.