Rapid antibiotic resistance testing in urological samples via surface enhanced Raman scattering


Urinary tract infection (UTI) is one of the most frequently occurring bacterial infections worldwide and thus represents a heavy burden on the healthcare system. It is often caused or accompanied by evolution of bacteria that show high resistance towards a wide range of antibiotics. Hence, fast antibiotic susceptibility tests are vital.

The aim of the project is to fully investigate the feasibility of a SERS-based assay on with real samples, a range of clinically relevant bacteria species and strains, as well as antibiotics.  The influence of the biological matrix is investigated and suitable sample preparation methods will be developed in order to allow for successful use independent on the chemical environment of the sample.

We are also working on a sampling platform for the handling of the sample, which is suitable for the sample pre-treatment as well as for the Raman-microscopic investigation. The test conditions will be elaborated in close collaboration with the project partners, which guarantees a sustainable work procedure. Finally, the capacity of the method shall be tested in comparison with routine analysis and thus the applicability of the method can be evaluated.

Method of Approach


Raman microscopy allows the characterization of aqueous samples, it finds more and more applications microbiological samples.

Recently, we presented a SERS-based method to distinguish living and dead bacteria, using an in situ formation of silver nanoparticles on the bacteria cell wall. This approach promises to be suitable for a fast testing of bacteria within the time of a few minutes. Furthermore, the use of Raman as microscopical method allows single cell measurement and thus would even make cultivation obsolete.


Financial Support

  • DFG


  • Christoph Haisch
  • PhD Student David Bauer


  • Prof. Dr. med. Christian Stief, Urologische Klinik der LMU München
  • PD Dr. Andreas Wieser, Max von Pettenkofer-Institut, LMU München