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Simplified Search for Antibiotics


A new type of sensor with unprecedented sensitivity has led scientists supported by the SNSF to new insights into the behaviour of bacteria: the concentration of a messenger determines whether bacteria move freely as individual cells or live in communities that form biofilms resistant to antibiotics. The ability to measure the levels of this messenger in individual living bacterial cells should boost the search for new antibiotics.

Telling the difference between cells of the bacterium Pseudomonas aeruginosa: Due to the development of a new biosensor measuring the levels of a bacterial messenger, the virulent swimming cells (red) appear in a different light to the persistent stay-put cells (green), which are feared due to their ability to form biofilms resistant to antibiotics.

Source: ETH Zürich / Department of Biosystems Science and Engineering