High-throughput screening of antibiotic-resistant bacteria in picodroplets

X. Liu, R. E. Painter, K. Enesa, David Holmes, Graeme Whyte, C. G. Garlisi, F. J. Monsma, M. Rehak, F. F. Craig, Clive A. Smith

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

78 Citations (Scopus)


The prevalence of clinically-relevant bacterial strains resistant to current antibiotic therapies is increasing and has been recognized as a major health threat. For example, multidrug-resistant tuberculosis and methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus are of global concern. Novel methodologies are needed to identify new targets or novel compounds unaffected by pre-existing resistance mechanisms. Recently, water-in-oil picodroplets have been used as an alternative to conventional high-throughput methods, especially for phenotypic screening. Here we demonstrate a novel microfluidic-based picodroplet platform which enables high-throughput assessment and isolation of antibiotic-resistant bacteria in a label-free manner. As a proof-of-concept, the system was used to isolate fusidic acid-resistant mutants and estimate the frequency of resistance among a population of Escherichia coli (strain HS151). This approach can be used for rapid screening of rare antibiotic-resistant mutants to help identify novel compound/target pairs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1636-1643
Number of pages8
JournalLab on a Chip
Issue number9
Early online date1 Apr 2016
Publication statusPublished - 2016




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