A rapid single-cell antimicrobial susceptibility testing workflow for bloodstream infections

Britney Forsyth, Peter Torab, Jyong Huei Lee, Tyler Malcom, Tza Huei Wang, Joseph C. Liao, Samuel Yang, Erik Kvam, Chris Puleo, Pak Kin Wong

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Bloodstream infections are a significant cause of morbidity and mortality worldwide. The rapid initiation of effective antibiotic treatment is critical for patients with bloodstream infections. However, the diagnosis of bloodborne pathogens is largely complicated by the matrix effect of blood and the lengthy blood tube culture procedure. Here we report a culture-free workflow for the rapid isolation and enrichment of bacterial pathogens from whole blood for single-cell antimicrobial susceptibility testing (AST). A dextran sedimentation step reduces the concentration of blood cells by 4 orders of magnitude in 20–30 min while maintaining the effective concentration of bacteria in the sample. Red blood cell depletion facilitates the downstream centrifugation-based enrichment step at a sepsis-relevant bacteria concentration. The workflow is compatible with common antibiotic-resistant bacteria and does not influence the minimum inhibitory concentrations. By applying a microfluidic single-cell trapping device, we demonstrate the workflow for the rapid determination of bacterial infection and antimicrobial susceptibility testing at the single-cell level. The entire workflow from blood to categorical AST result can be completed in less than two hours.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number288
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Analytical Chemistry
  • Instrumentation
  • Engineering (miscellaneous)
  • Biotechnology
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Clinical Biochemistry


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