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Multipad agarose plate: a rapid and high-throughput approach for antibiotic susceptibility testing

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Mancini, Leonardo 
Kotar, Jurij 
Donald, Allen 


We describe a phenotypic antibiotic susceptibility testing (AST) method that can provide an eightfold speed-up in turnaround time compared with the current clinical standard by leveraging advances in microscopy and single-cell imaging. A newly developed growth plate containing 96 agarose pads, termed the multipad agarose plate (MAP), can be assembled at low cost. Pads can be prepared with dilution series of antibiotics. Bacteria are seeded on the pads and automatically imaged using brightfield microscopy, with a fully automated segmentation pipeline quantifying microcolony formation and growth rate. Using a test set of nine antibiotics with very different targets, we demonstrate that accurate minimum inhibitory concentration (MIC) measurements can be performed based on the growth rate of microcolonies within 3 h of incubation with the antibiotic when started from exponential phase. Faster, reliable and high-throughput methods for AST, such as MAP, could improve patient care by expediting treatment initiation and alleviating the burden of antimicrobial resistance.


Peer reviewed: True

Publication status: Published


imaging bacteria, antimicrobial resistance, antibiotic susceptibility testing

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Journal of the Royal Society Interface

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The Royal Society
Cambridge University (Herchel Smith Postdoctoral Fellowship)
EU EC ITN Phymot (955910)