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A rapid unravelling of mycobacterial activity and of their susceptibility to antibiotics

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Mustazzolu, A 
Venturelli, L 
Dinarelli, S 
Brown, K 


The development of antibiotic-resistant bacteria is a worldwide health-related emergency that calls for new tools to study the bacterial metabolism and to obtain fast diagnoses. Indeed, the conventional analysis timescale is too long and affects our ability to fight infections. Slowly growing bacteria represent a bigger challenge, since their analysis may require up to months. Among these bacteria, Mycobacterium tuberculosis, the causative agent of tuberculosis has caused, only in 2016 more than 10 million new cases and 1.7 million deaths. We employed a particularly powerful nanomechanical oscillator, the nanomotion sensor, to characterize rapidly and in real time a tuberculous and a non-tuberculous bacterial species, Bacillus Calmette-Guérin and Mycobacterium abscessus exposed to different antibiotics. Here, we show how high speed and high sensitivity detectors, the nanomotion sensors, can provide a rapid and reliable analysis of different mycobacterial species, obtaining qualitative and quantitative information on their response to different drugs.



Journal Title

Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy

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Volume Title



American Society for Microbiology


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Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche and Swiss National Grants 200021-144321 and 407240-167137 The Gerbert Ruf Stiftung GRS-024/14