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Keywords:

  • Raman microscopy;
  • Ultra-violet resonance Raman spectroscopy;
  • Chemometrics;
  • Urinary tract infection

Abstract

The ability to identify pathogenic organisms rapidly provides significant benefits to clinicians; in particular, with respect to best prescription practices and tracking of recurrent infections. Conventional bioassays require 3–5 days before identification of an organism can be made, thus compromising the effectiveness with which patients can be treated for bacterial infections. We analysed 20 clinical isolates of urinary tract infections (UTI) by ultra-violet resonance Raman (UVRR) spectroscopy, utilising 244 nm excitation delivering ∼0.1 mW laser power at the sample, with typical spectral collection times of 120 s. UVRR results in resonance-enhanced Raman signals for certain chromophoric segments of macromolecules, intensifying those selected bands above what would otherwise be observed for a normal Raman experiment. Utilising the whole-organism ‘fingerprints’ obtained by UVRR we were able to discriminate successfully between UTI pathogens using chemometric cluster analyses. This work demonstrates significant improvements in the speed with which spectra can be obtained by Raman spectroscopic techniques for the discrimination of clinical bacterial samples.