IIT Guwahati Researchers Develop Hand Held Device to Detect Bacteria almost Instantaneously Hand Held Device to Detect Bacteria almost Instantaneously

by The Welthi Bureau 06th August, 2019

iit guwahati researchers develop hand held device to detect bacteria almost instantaneously
 Image used for representational purpose only

Indian Institute of Technology Guwahati Researchers have developed a low-cost, hand-held device to detect bacteria. This Research by IIT Guwahati will enable rapid detection of bacteria, which is important not only in healthcare, but also in anti-bioterrorism measures and environmental monitoring applications.



Bacterial infection is a common cause of morbidity and mortality worldwide and despite development of a range of antibiotics, the challenge continues to lie in detecting and diagnosing bacterial infection early on, as present detection techniques tend to be time-consuming. 



The research team led by Prof. Parameswar K.Iyer, Department of Chemistry,and Prof. Siddhartha S. Ghosh, Department of Biosciences and Bioengineering, IIT Guwahati,has developed this novel, low-cost, bio-compatible sensor that can detect bacteria almost instantaneously without the need for cell culture and microbiological assays. The Organic Field Effect Transistor (OFET)-based bacterial diagnostic device has been shown to have the ability to detect 103cfu mL−1 of bacteria and distinguish between Gram positive and Gram negative types.



Their work has been patented as well as published in the July 2019 issue of the reputed peer-reviewed Journal of Materials Chemistry A of the Royal Society of Chemistry.



At present, the detection of bacteria in body fluids is done in laboratories.  The cells that are derived from the patient are initially cultured or grown so that enough of the bacterial cells are available for microbiological analysis. 



Explaining the need to develop faster and easier methods to detect bacteria, Prof.Iyersays, “Current diagnostic processes are frustratingly time-consuming, especially when time is of the essence in administering treatment.” While newly developed techniques such as real time qPCR can detect bacteria faster than conventional assay-based methods, they are restricted by the need for expensive apparatuses and trained personnel.  What would be useful are hand-held rapid detection kits like those used for blood sugar monitoring and pregnancy detection.”



The IIT Guwahati team consisting of Dr.AnamikaDey, Dr.Ashish Singh, Dr.Deepanjalee Dutta (all three former PhD scholars from Center for Nanotechnology, IITG), Prof.SiddharthaSankar Ghosh and Prof.Parameswar Krishnan Iyer, bringsportable bacterial detection kits closer to reality.The sensor detects the charges on the cell walls of bacteria



Highlighting the functionality of the device,Prof.Ghosh said,“It is known that Gram positive bacteria such as S. pneumoniae, have different cell wall compositions thanGram negative bacteria such as the common E. coli. Such asymmetric cell wall organizations could alter flow of electrons at the channel of OFETs during their detection”.



The important breakthrough by the team was in developing and using an Organic Field Effect Transistor (OFET) to detect this surface charge. The OFET is an electronic device that works on the principle that charges in the vicinity of the channels of certain semiconductorscan induce a current in them. Thus, the charges on the surface of the bacterium, induces a current in the OFET, which is registered and read.



The OFET devices developed by the team consists of a unique and hybrid tri-layer dielectric system built on simple glass and flexible PET (a kind of plastic) substrates, and can operate at ultra-low operating voltages. The team has shown that this OFET sensor can not only detect bacteria, but also differentiate between Gram positive and Gram negative bacteria.   



“Not only have we shown the sensing capabilities of thisportable OFET device, but we have also shown the mechanism by which sensing occurs and elucidated the role of bacterial wall in distinguishing various bacterial types”, added Prof.Iyer on the significance of this latest interdisciplinary research work.



The OFET-based ready-to-use diagnostic tool will facilitate rapid detection and diagnosis at the point of care. The current device is particularly useful for the detection of bacteria primarily for water-borne diseases. These sensors will also be useful in instantaneous detection of time-critical illnesses such as meningitis. 



About IIT Guwahati


Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Guwahati established in 1994 has completed 25 years of glorious existence in 2019. At present, the Institute has eleven departments and five inter-disciplinary academic centres covering all the major engineering, science and humanities disciplines, offering BTech, BDes, MA, MDes, MTech, MSc and PhD programmes. The institute offersa residential campus to 412 faculty members and nearly 6,000 students at present. Besides its laurels in teaching and research, IIT Guwahati has been able to fulfill the aspirations of people of the North East region to a great extent since its birth which was through the Assam Accord signed in 1985 between AASU and Government of India. The campus is on a sprawling 285 hectares plot on the north bank of the Brahmaputra, around 20 kms from the heart of the Guwahati city.



IIT Guwahati is the only academic institution in India that occupied a place among the top 100 world universities – under 50 years of age – ranked by the London-based Times Higher Education (THE) in the year 2014 and continues to maintain its superior position even today in various International Rankings. Along with the older IITs and Delhi University, IIT Guwahati has been ranked below 500 in the QS World ranking released recently. IIT Guwahati has retained the 7th position among the best engineering institutions of the country in the ‘India Rankings 2019’ declared by National Institutional Ranking Framework (NIRF) of the Union ministry of Human Resource Development (HRD). IIT Guwahati has been also ranked 2nd in the  ‘Swachhata Ranking’ conducted by the Govt. of India.



Among other frontier areas of research and innovation, IIT Guwahati is working towards augmenting critical science research initiatives in Genomics, Developmental Biology, Health Care and Bioinformatics, Flexible Electronics, Advanced Functional Materials, Sustainable Polymers, Rural Technologies, Disaster Resilence and Risk Reduction, and Water Resources and Management. In its silver jubilee year, IIT Guwahati is poised to scale newer heights through all round growth and development.


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