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Rapid Detection of Pseudomonas aeruginosa Biofilms via Enzymatic Liquefaction of Respiratory Samples

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journal contribution
posted on 2020-11-24, 18:07 authored by Antonio Clemente, Alejandra Alba-Patiño, Estrella Rojo-Molinero, Steven M. Russell, Marcio Borges, Antonio Oliver, Roberto de la Rica
Respiratory infections caused by multi-drug-resistant Pseudomonas aeruginosa often yield poor outcomes if not detected right away. However, detecting this pathogen in respiratory samples with a rapid diagnostic test is challenging because the protective biofilms created by the pathogen are themselves surrounded by a high-viscosity sputum matrix. Here, we introduce a method for liquefying respiratory samples and disrupting bacterial biofilms on the spot within a minute. It relies on the generation of oxygen bubbles by bacterial catalase through the addition of hydrogen peroxide. When coupled with a mobile biosensor made of paper, the resulting diagnostic kit was able to detect P. aeruginosa infections in sputa from patients with excellent sensitivity and specificity within 8 min. The quick turnaround time along with few infrastructure requirements make this method ideal for the rapid screening of P. aeruginosa infections at the point of care.