Biofilms are large groups of bacterial cells that stick together and protect each other like a Roman legion. Drugs and other therapies can poke at the exterior of a biofilm, but killing the mass can be extremely challenging. Researchers at the Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology in Japan decided to look more closely at the functionality of biofilms, which led to the creation of a unique instrument for studying how biofilms form and for experimenting how drugs can influence them.
The newly unveiled device has tiny columns of silicon dioxide with golden tips onto which bacteria can be place on and allowed to grow. The structures exhibit so-called localized surface plasmon resonance, absorbing light in different amounts and reflecting some depending on how much light manages to pass through the bacteria. Measuring the ratio between the wavelengths that enter and escape and turning that map into an image provides a new look at the bacterial structures.
Since the bacteria is not labeled or disturbed in any way other than being illuminated by light, it is free to grow and behave as it would naturally.
Now that the device is ready and has shown promise in a proof-of-concept study published in journal ACS Sensors, the researchers are planning on conducting studies on various bacteria that are the cause of infections affecting clinical facilities, potentially leading to new drugs and other treatments.
Study in ACS Sensors: Nanoplasmonics for Real-Time and Label-Free Monitoring of Microbial Biofilm Formation…