Publication Details (including relevant citation information):
Cooper, I.R., Meikle, S.T., Standen, G., Hanlon, G.W., Santin, M. 78 (1) 40-44
Abstract: The detection of Legionella pneumophila in water samples using standard microbiological culture techniques is both prolonged and problematic. The bacterium is slow-growing and nutritionally fastidious, such that other indigenous species can out-compete the Legionella even when using antibiotic supplemented media. Optical Waveguide Lightmode Spectroscopy (OWLS) is a real-time analytical system whereby a change to a higher coupling angle where the refractive index of a bacterial cell is higher than that of the covering medium. In this study an aqueous suspension of L. pneumophila was passed across the surface of waveguides functionalised with a specific anti-Legionella antibody. The binding between the bacterial cells and the antibody specific for that cell resulted in an increase in the refraction indices of the transverse electric and transverse magnetic photoelectric currents. We report the optimisation of a rapid and sensitive (1.3 × 104 CFU mL− 1) detection method for L. pneumophila contamination in a water sample in less than 25 min. This is a significant reduction in the time taken to determine the presence of the bacterium which with conventional techniques normally takes up to fourteen days. In addition, the specificity of the technique to L. pneumophila was demonstrated. The OWLS results were validated by conventional microbiology screening and atomic force microscopy of the surface of the waveguide, showing its species specificity and potential applications in environmental and clinical analysis.