, Volume 58, Issue 4-5, pp 440-448,
Open Access This content is freely available online to anyone, anywhere at any time.
Date: 26 Feb 2013

Development of a novel conductance-based technology for environmental bacterial sensing


In this study, a simple impedance based technology for measuring bacterial concentrations was developed. The measurement system includes the signal amplification, copper probes and a sample loader. During the experiments, the conductance of Bacillus subtilis var niger, Pseudomonas fluorescens, and Escherichia coli were measured using the combination of a pre-amplifier and a lock-in amplifier. The conductance data were modeled verses the bacterial concentrations. Results indicated that the relationship between the conductance of bacterial suspensions and their concentrations follows a generic model: \(Y = C_1 + C_2 \times e^{\left( { - X/C_3 } \right)}\) , where Y is the conductance (S), X is the bacterial concentration (Number/mL: abbreviated to N/mL) for all species tested, and C 1–3 are constants. Gram negative P. fluorescens and E. coli assumed similar conductance curves, which were flatter than that of gram positive B. subtilis var niger. For P. fluorescens and E. coli the culturing technique resulted in higher concentration levels (statistically significant) from 2 to 4 times that measured by the impedance based technology. For B. subtilis var niger, both methods resulted in similar concentration levels. These differences might be due to membrane types, initial culturability and the obtained conductance curves. The impedance based technology here was shown to obtain the bacterial concentration instantly, holding broad promise in realtime monitoring biological agents.

These authors contributed equally to this work.
This article is published with open access at Springerlink.com