Rapid and sensitive detection of gram-negative bacteria using surface-immobilized polymyxin B

Hyun Jin Kang, Sang Hoon Lee, Han Shin Kim, Yong Woo Jung, Hee Deung Park

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Although detection of gram-negative bacteria (GNB) in body fluids is important for clinical purpose, traditional gram staining and other recently developed methods have inherent limitations in terms of accuracy, sensitivity, and convenience. To overcome the weakness, this study proposed a method detecting GNB based on specific binding of polymyxin B (PMB) to lipopolysaccharides (LPS) of GNB. Fluorescent microscopy demonstrated that surface immobilized PMB using a silane coupling agent was possible to detect fluorescent signal produced by a single Escherichia coli (a model GNB) cell. Furthermore, the signal was selective enough to differentiate between GNB and gram-positive bacteria. The proposed method could detect three cells per ml within one hour, indicating the method was very sensitive and the sensing was rapid. These results suggest that highly multifold PMB binding on each GNB cell occurred, as millions of LPS are present on cell wall of a GNB cell. Importantly, the principle used in this study was realized in a microfluidic chip for a sample containing E. coli cells suspended in porcine plasma, demonstrating its potential application to practical uses. In conclusion, the proposed method was accurate, sensitive, and convenient for detecting GNB, and could be applied clinically.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0290579
JournalPloS one
Issue number8 August
Publication statusPublished - 2023 Aug

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
Copyright: © 2023 Kang et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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