One-day workflow scheme for bacterial pathogen detection and antimicrobial resistance testing from blood cultures

W.L.J. Hansen, J. Beuving, A. Verbon, P.F.G. Wolffs*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Bloodstream infections are associated with high mortality rates because of the probable manifestation of sepsis, severe sepsis and septic shock(1). Therefore, rapid administration of adequate antibiotic therapy is of foremost importance in the treatment of bloodstream infections. The critical element in this process is timing, heavily dependent on the results of bacterial identification and antibiotic susceptibility testing. Both of these parameters are routinely obtained by culture-based testing, which is time-consuming and takes on average 24-48 hours(2, 4). The aim of the study was to develop DNA-based assays for rapid identification of bloodstream infections, as well as rapid antimicrobial susceptibility testing. The first assay is a eubacterial 16S rDNA-based real-time PCR assay complemented with species- or genus-specific probes(5). Using these probes, Gram-negative bacteria including Pseudomonas spp., Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Escherichia coli as well as Gram-positive bacteria including Staphylococcus spp., Staphylococcus aureus, Enterococcus spp., Streptococcus spp., and Streptococcus pneumoniae could be distinguished. Using this multiprobe assay, a first identification of the causative micro-organism was given after 2 h. Secondly, we developed a semi-molecular assay for antibiotic susceptibility testing of S. aureus, Enterococcus spp. and (facultative) aerobe Gram-negative rods(6). This assay was based on a study in which PCR was used to measure the growth of bacteria(7). Bacteria harvested directly from blood cultures are incubated for 6 h with a selection of antibiotics, and following a Sybr Green-based real-time PCR assay determines inhibition of growth. The combination of these two methods could direct the choice of a suitable antibiotic therapy on the same day (Figure 1). In conclusion, molecular analysis of both identification and antibiotic susceptibility offers a faster alternative for pathogen detection and could improve the diagnosis of bloodstream infections.
Original languageEnglish
Article number3254
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of visualized experiment
Issue number65
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2012


  • Immunology
  • Issue 65
  • Infection
  • Medicine
  • Microbiology
  • Bacteria
  • real-time PCR
  • probes
  • pathogen detection
  • blood culture
  • 16S rDNA gene
  • antibiotic resistance
  • antibiotic susceptibility testing

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