• vibrational spectroscopy; Raman spectroscopy; IR absorption spectroscopy; direct microbial identification; single cell analysis


Rapid microbial detection and identification with a high grade of sensitivity and selectivity is a great and challenging issue in many fields, primarily in clinical diagnosis, pharmaceutical, or food processing technology. The tedious and time-consuming processes of current microbiological approaches call for faster ideally on-line identification techniques. The vibrational spectroscopic techniques IR absorption and Raman spectroscopy are noninvasive methods yielding molecular fingerprint information; thus, allowing for a fast and reliable analysis of complex biological systems such as bacterial or yeast cells. In this short review, we discuss recent vibrational spectroscopic advances in microbial identification of yeast and bacterial cells for bulk environment and single-cell analysis. IR absorption spectroscopy enables a bulk analysis whereas micro-Raman-spectroscopy with excitation in the near infrared or visible range has the potential for the analysis of single bacterial and yeast cells. The inherently weak Raman signal can be increased up to several orders of magnitude by applying Raman signal enhancement methods such as UV-resonance Raman spectroscopy with excitation in the deep UV region, surface enhanced Raman scattering, or tip-enhanced Raman scattering. © 2008 International Society for Advancement of Cytometry