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  • Get a whiff of this: Low-cost sensor can diagnose bacterial infections

    Chemistry professor Ken Suslick developed an artificial "nose" than can diagnose bacterial infections in only a few hours. The new process can identify specific species and strains of bacteria more quickly than a clinical blood culture, which can take 24 to 72 hours.

    Chemistry professor Ken Suslick developed an artificial "nose" than can diagnose bacterial infections in only a few hours. The new process can identify specific species and strains of bacteria more quickly than a clinical blood culture, which can take 24 to 72 hours.

    Photo by L. Brian Stauffer

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      Chemistry professor Ken Suslick developed an artificial "nose" than can diagnose bacterial infections in only a few hours. The new process can identify specific species and strains of bacteria more quickly than a clinical blood culture, which can take 24 to 72 hours.

      Photo by L. Brian Stauffer

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      A colorimetric sensor array is placed in a Petri dish for culturing bacteria and scanned with an ordinary flatbed photo scanner kept inside a lab incubator. The dots change color as they react with gases the bacteria produce.

      Photo by K. S. Suslick

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      The researchers tested their array on ten common infectious bacteria. The color changes of the sensor array show what kind of bacteria is growing and even if they are antibiotic resistant.

      Photo by K. S. Suslick

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