Antibiotic Resistance Analysis and Antibiotic Discovery

How Our Technology Improves Research Into Antibiotic Resistance and Antibiotic Discovery

Over the last twenty years, anti-microbial resistance has become a serious threat to public health. It can occur at a rate of approximately one in one billion bacteria. Recently, there’s been a resurgent demand for the development of new antibiotics. Current techniques for antibiotic discovery are limited by antibiotic diversity, compound supply and potency, as well as the time, cost and labour investment required in such studies.

We’ve developed our picodroplet technology with speed and efficiency in mind. By miniaturizing the screening process, you can increase throughput while still obtaining accurate and insightful data. We’re confident that our instruments can help make antibiotic discovery and resistance analysis exciting and fruitful areas of research once again.

The Unique Benefits of Our Systems for Research Into Antibiotic Resistance and Antibiotic Discovery

With the demand for faster and more effective routes to antibiotic discovery, we’ve built our systems to make it feasible to screen more than one billion bacteria for signs of antibiotic resistance. After screening in the presence of antibiotics, the surviving bacteria can be retrieved using optical readouts and then sequenced. This analysis allows you to identify targets of interest that can be used to explore the genetic basis for antibiotic resistance. We can also compartmentalise single microbes (e.g. Streptomycetes or Actinomycetes) and ensure that both slow-growing and fast-growing bacteria can replicate without competition and thus produce diverse antibiotics that are usually not seen in mixed bulk populations. These antibiotic-producing microbes can be co-compartmentalised with target microbes and the level of target cell killing or damage is detected optically using fluorescent probes or by modulation of expression. e.g. GFP.

As demonstrated in the graph below, a single E. coli microbe can grow through to circa 7,000 in 8 hours. This equates to over around one billion bacteria per biochip – more than adequate to detect the emergence of antibiotic-resistance. This high throughput model saves you time, as well as associated reagent costs and reduces the generation of environmental waste usually generated with microtitre plate based techniques.

Bacteria growth in picodroplets

Our Systems in Action for Antibiotic Resistance and Antibiotic Discovery

Our technology can be applied to antibiotic resistance research through the analysis of bacterial cells. In an experiment, more than one billion bacteria were tested for antibiotic resistance using our picodroplet technology. Individual bacteria were encapsulated in picodroplets along with an antibiotic and incubated at 37°C. While test antibiotic concentrations prevented most bacteria from growing, the few that did manage to proliferate were clearly antibiotic-resistant. These samples were then taken on for genetic sequencing and morphological studies.

As can be seen in the figure, a total of 124 antibiotic-resistant colonies were observed on 10 antibiotic-containing plates, representing a mutation rate of c. 1 in ten million. Following this, the survivors were sub-cultured for further downstream analysis by sequencing and other techniques.

Antibiotic resistance bacteria