Bio Particle Explorer

InfectoGnostics scientist Dr. Susanne Pahlow preparing a measurement with the Bio Particle Explorer
InfectoGnostics scientist Dr. Susanne Pahlow preparing a measurement with the Bio Particle Explorer (Photo: InfectoGnostics/S. Döring)

Raman spectroscropy for real-time monitoring of bacteria and their antibiotic resistances

The Bio Particle Explorer (BPE) is a spectroscopic analysis system that enables the rapid characterization of pathogens such as bacteria or fungi.

The gold standard of pathogen identification is classical microbiology, which however requires a lengthy cultivation that sometimes can last several days. Genetic testing (DNA assays) is less time consuming, but can only search for certain previously determined bacteria. Thus, reliable and culture-independent analysis methods are needed, which allow for an early and targeted disease management, thus hugely improving the prognosis of the patients and help saving lives in the future.

The technology underlying the Bio Particle Explorer was jointly developed by the Leibniz-IPHT and the Friedrich-Schiller-University Jena and further refined and brought to market maturity by the Berlin company rap.ID. Both at the University Hospital Jena and in the InfectoGnostics labs at the Center for Applied Research the devices are already routinely used by InfectoGnostics researchers.

The experience of spectroscopic pathogen detection with the BPE is directly incorporated into the "Raman2Go" project that focuses on the development of a portable Raman spectroscopy system for point-of-care diagnostics. In addition, InfectoGnostics partners such as Biophotonics Diagnostics or the European Virus Bioinformatics Center are optimizing the underlying algorithms.

The development of the device was funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF).

Technology facts

  • Compact, stand-alone Raman microspectroscopic system
  • Compatible with chip-based pathogen isolation methods, which allow a fast sampling of pathogens directly from a complex matrix such as blood, urine or sputum at the bedside of the patient
  • No pre-cultivation steps necessary
  • Spatial resolution in the submicron range, exactly matching the size of a single bacterium
  • Real-time, non-destructive and automated single-pathogen identification, realized by an automated spectral pattern-matching approach
  • Characterization of pathogens for antibiotic resistance patterns, which can be identified already 120 minutes after the treatment with antibiotics
  • Integrated automated data analysis with customized databases, accounting for the nature of the examined samples such as urine or blood

Field of Application

  • Application in health care, e. g. identification of sepsis pathogens out of body liquids in less than 3 hours
  • Monitoring and quality control in sterile production environments within the manufacturing process
  • Detection of contaminants in food or beverages
  • Forensic analysis