To combat antibiotic resistance, a rapid antibiotic susceptibility testing (AST) technology that can identify resistant infections at disease onset is required. Current clinical AST technologies take 1-3 days, which is often too slow for accurate treatment. Here we demonstrate a rapid AST method by tracking sub-μm scale bacterial motion with an optical imaging and tracking technique. We apply the method to clinically relevant bacterial pathogens, Escherichia coli O157: H7 and uropathogenic E. coli (UPEC) loosely tethered to a glass surface. By analyzing dose-dependent sub-μm motion changes in a population of bacterial cells, we obtain the minimum bactericidal concentration within 2 h using human urine samples spiked with UPEC. We validate the AST method using the standard culture-based AST methods. In addition to population studies, the method allows single cell analysis, which can identify subpopulations of resistance strains within a sample.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1231-1239
Number of pages9
JournalACS sensors
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 25 2017


  • antibiotic resistant
  • bacterial motion
  • bacterial viability
  • imaging diagnostics
  • microscopic urinalysis
  • rapid antimicrobial susceptibility test

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Bioengineering
  • Instrumentation
  • Process Chemistry and Technology
  • Fluid Flow and Transfer Processes


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