One of the fundamental analytical measurements performed in microbiology is monitoring and characterizing cell concentration in culture media. Measurement error will give rise to reproducibility problems in a wide range of applications, from biomanufacturing to basic research. Therefore, it is critical that the generated results are consistent. Single wavelength optical density (OD) measurements have become the preferred approach. Here, we compare the conventional OD600 technique with a multi-wavelength normalized scattering optical spectroscopy method to measure the growth rates of Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Staphylococcus aureus, two of the leading nosocomial pathogens with proven abilities to develop resistance. The multi-wavelength normalization process minimizes the impact of bacteria byproducts and environmental noise on the signal, thereby accurately quantifying growth rates with high fidelity at low concentrations. In contrast, due to poor absorbance and scattering at 600 nm, the classic OD600 measurement method is able to detect bacteria but cannot quantify the growth rate reliably. Our wavelength-normalization protocol to detect bacteria growth rates can be readily and easily adopted by research labs, given that it only requires the use of a standard spectrophotometer and implementation of straightforward data analysis. Measuring and monitoring bacteria growth rates play a critical role in a wide range of settings, spanning from therapeutic design and development to diagnostics and disease prevention. Having a full understanding of the growth cycles of bacteria known to cause severe infections and diseases will lead to a better understanding of the pathogenesis of these illnesses, leading to better treatment and, ultimately, the development of a cure.
Samantha E. McBirney, Kristy Trinh, Annie Wong-Beringer, and Andrea M. Armani, "Using wavelength-normalized optical spectroscopy to improve the accuracy of bacteria growth rate quantification," Proc. SPIE 10068, Imaging, Manipulation, and Analysis of Biomolecules, Cells, and Tissues XV, 1006817 (Presented at SPIE BiOS: February 01, 2017; Published: 28 March 2017); https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2248537.
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