25-Mar-2020 - Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey

New device quickly detects harmful bacteria in blood

Tiny device could help professionals diagnose and fight deadly infections

Engineers have created a tiny device that can rapidly detect harmful bacteria in blood, allowing health care professionals to pinpoint the cause of potentially deadly infections and fight them with drugs.

"The rapid identification of drug-resistant bacteria allows health care providers to prescribe the right drugs, boosting the chances of survival," said coauthor Ruo-Qian (Roger) Wang, an assistant professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering in the School of Engineering at Rutgers University-New Brunswick.

Drug-resistant bacteria, or super-bugs, are a major public health concern. Globally, at least 700,000 people die each year as a result of drug-resistant infections, including 230,000 deaths from multidrug-resistant tuberculosis. That number could soar to 10 million deaths a year by 2050 if no action is taken, according to a 2019 report.

Based on a new approach, the tiny new device rapidly isolates, retrieves and concentrates target bacteria from bodily fluids. It efficiently filters particles and bacteria, capturing about 86 percent of them. The nano-device has magnetic beads of different sizes that are designed to trap, concentrate and retrieve Escherichia coli (E. coli) bacteria. The small spaces between the beads are used to isolate bacteria in the device.

The inexpensive, transparent device is easy to fabricate and operate, making it ideal for detecting disease-causing organisms in laboratory and health care settings, according to the study. The research team is working to perfect the device and plans to add multiple devices onto a small chip and explore scaling up testing in the field.

Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey

Recommend news PDF version / Print

Share on

Facts, background information, dossiers
  • bacteria
  • infections
  • drug resistance
  • superbugs
More about Rutgers University
  • News

    New device can measure toxic lead within minutes

    Rutgers researchers have created a miniature device for measuring trace levels of toxic lead in sediments at the bottom of harbors, rivers and other waterways within minutes - far faster than currently available laboratory-based tests, which take days. The affordable lab-on-a-chip device co ... more

    Better biosensor technology created for stem cells

    A Rutgers-led team has created better biosensor technology that may help lead to safe stem cell therapies for treating Alzheimer's and Parkinson's diseases and other neurological disorders. The technology, which features a unique graphene and gold-based platform and high-tech imaging, monit ... more

    Structure of virus that infects bacteria in hot springs is revealed

    Scientists have revealed the structure of a virus infecting bacteria that thrive in 160-degree hot springs in places like Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming. The discovery could lead to better targeted delivery of drugs into cells and new DNA sequencing technology, according to a study by ... more