Diagnostic bacteriology: Raman spectroscopy

Rebecca L. Pavlicek, Nicole J. Crane, Meron Ghebremedhin, Katherine E. Cilwa, Eric A. Elster*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Current clinical methodology for identification of bacterial infections relies predominantly on culturing microbes from patient material and performing biochemical tests. This can often be an inefficient and lengthy process, which has a significant detrimental effect upon patient care. Techniques used in other aspects of molecular research have the potential to revolutionize the way in which diagnostic tests are used and delivered in the clinical setting. The need for rapid, accurate, and cost-effective molecular techniques in the diagnostic laboratory is imperative to improving patient care, preventing the spread of drug resistance and decreasing the overall burden associated with nosocomial infections. Raman spectroscopy and surface-enhanced Raman spectroscopy (SERS) are powerful vibrational spectroscopy techniques that are being developed for highly sensitive pathogen identification in complex clinical samples. Raman spectroscopy is a molecular technique that is capable of probing samples noninvasively and nondestructively. It has been used with high specificity to assess tissue and bacterial samples at the molecular level with diverse clinical and diagnostic applications. SERS has recently developed out of the advances in the Raman spectroscopy arena. This technique is designed to amplify Raman scattering and allows for better differentiation of bacterial isolates. Although the current parameters for the use of SERS require a pure culture and are relatively monoparametric, current breakthroughs and testing are pushing the technology to new levels and thus changing the face of modern bacterial diagnostics.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationMethods in Molecular Biology
PublisherHumana Press Inc.
Number of pages13
StatePublished - 2017
Externally publishedYes

Publication series

NameMethods in Molecular Biology
ISSN (Print)1064-3745


  • Antimicrobial resistance
  • Bacteria
  • Bacterial profiling
  • Bacteriology
  • Clinical microbiology
  • Infection
  • Molecular diagnostics
  • Raman spectroscopy
  • Rapid diagnostic
  • SERS
  • Surface enhanced


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