Biomimetic Bacterial Identification Platform Based on Thermal Transport Analysis Through Surface Imprinted Polymers: From Proof of Principle to Proof of Application

Benjamin Heidt, Renato Rogosic, Joe Lowdon, Muriel Desmond-Kennedy, Kaste Jurgaityte, Jordi Ferrer Orri, Yara Kronshorst, Stephanie Mendez, Henry T. Rice, F Crijns, Hanne Diliën, Erik Steen Redeker, Kasper Eersels*, Bart van Grinsven, Thomas Cleij

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Accurate and sensitive detection of bacteria is crucial in medicine for diagnosis and effective treatment of infectious diseases. Current state-of-the art methods consist of either traditional time consuming microbiological analysis or rapid, sensitive molecular techniques that require expensive readout equipment. In previous work, the authors of this paper combined synthetic bacteria receptors, so-called surface imprinted polymers (SIPs), with a novel thermal biosensor readout methodology for the detection of bacteria in urine. In this follow-up study, the potential of the method for application in urinary tract infection (UTI) diagnosis is further studied. The reproducibility of the method is assessed by expanding the study and analyzing the sensor's performance in urine samples obtained from four healthy adults. The samples are spiked with increasing concentrations of Escherichia coli to obtain different dose-response curves. The results of this study show that the method is reproducible over the studied population and variables such as age, gender and osmolality do not seem to influence the test. All results fall within the previously established dynamic range of 10(4)-10(5) bacteria mL(-1) which fits well within the diagnostic window of classical microbiological UTI tests. Further tests conducted on a urine sample 24 h after spiking illustrate the problem with traditional microbiology tests as the sensor response has significantly decreased due to the presence of a significant amount of dead bacteria in the day-old sample. These results confirm that fast, point-of-care analysis of fresh urine samples is advantageous over classic laborious techniques in terms of accurate diagnosis.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1800688
Number of pages7
JournalPhysica Status Solidi A-applications and Materials Science
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2019


  • bacteria detection
  • surface imprinted polymers
  • thermal wave transport analysis
  • urinary tract infection

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