Review of Label-Free Monitoring of Bacteria: From Challenging Practical Applications to Basic Research Perspectives

Biosensors (Basel). 2022 Mar 22;12(4):188. doi: 10.3390/bios12040188.


Novel biosensors already provide a fast way to detect the adhesion of whole bacteria (or parts of them), biofilm formation, and the effect of antibiotics. Moreover, the detection sensitivities of recent sensor technologies are large enough to investigate molecular-scale biological processes. Usually, these measurements can be performed in real time without using labeling. Despite these excellent capabilities summarized in the present work, the application of novel, label-free sensor technologies in basic biological research is still rare; the literature is dominated by heuristic work, mostly monitoring the presence and amount of a given analyte. The aims of this review are (i) to give an overview of the present status of label-free biosensors in bacteria monitoring, and (ii) to summarize potential novel directions with biological relevancies to initiate future development. Optical, mechanical, and electrical sensing technologies are all discussed with their detailed capabilities in bacteria monitoring. In order to review potential future applications of the outlined techniques in bacteria research, we summarize the most important kinetic processes relevant to the adhesion and survival of bacterial cells. These processes are potential targets of kinetic investigations employing modern label-free technologies in order to reveal new fundamental aspects. Resistance to antibacterials and to other antimicrobial agents, the most important biological mechanisms in bacterial adhesion and strategies to control adhesion, as well as bacteria-mammalian host cell interactions are all discussed with key relevancies to the future development and applications of biosensors.

PMID:35448248 | DOI:10.3390/bios12040188


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