Methicillin-resistance among Staphylococcus species is a major health problem in hospitals, communities, and animals. There is a need for culture-free diagnostic assays that can be carried out rapidly, and maintain a high degree of sensitivity and specificity. To address this need an ionic self-assembled multilayer (ISAM) film was deposited on the surface of a long-period grating (LPG) optical fiber with the terminal carboxyl groups covalently conjugated to monoclonal antibodies (MAb) specific to penicillin-binding-protein 2a of methicillin resistant (MR) staphylococci. After exposure of the LPG-ISAM to 102 colony forming units (CFU)/ml of MR S. aureus (MRSA) for 50 min., light transmission was reduced by 19.7%. In contrast, after exposure to 106 CFU/ml of methicillin-sensitive S. aureus (MSSA) attenuation of light transmission was less than 1.8%. When the sensor was tested with 36 strains of MR staphylococci, 15 strains of methicillin-sensitive staphylococci, 10 strains of heterologous genera (all at 104 CFU/ml), there was complete agreement between MR and non-MR bacteria determined by antibiotic susceptibility testing and the biosensor assay when the cutoff value for attenuation of light transmission was 6.3%. Thus, the biosensor described has the potential to detect MR staphylococci in clinical samples with a high degree of sensitivity and specificity.

© 2016 Optical Society of America

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