Journal of Biosciences

, Volume 42, Issue 4, pp 623–636 | Cite as

Klebsiella pneumoniae antibiotic resistance identified by atomic force microscopy

  • Vincenzo IerardiEmail author
  • Paolo Domenichini
  • Silvia Reali
  • Gian Marco Chiappara
  • Gianluigi Devoto
  • Ugo Valbusa


In the last decade the detection of the resistance of bacteria to antibiotics treatment, developed by different kind of bacteria, is becoming a huge problem. We hereby present a different approach to the current problem of detection of bacteria resistance to antibiotics. Our aims were to use the atomic force microscopy (AFM) to investigate bacteria morphological changes in response to antibiotics treatment and explore the possibility of reducing the time required to obtain information on their resistance. In particular, we studied Klebsiella pneumoniae bacteria provided by the Lavagna Hospital ASL4 Liguria (Italy), where there are cases linked with antibiotics resistance of the Klebsiella pneumoniae. By comparing AFM images of bacteria strains treated with different antibiotics is possible to identify unambiguously the Klebsiella pneumoniae strains resistant to antibiotics. In fact, the analysis of the AFM images of the antibiotic-sensitive bacteria shows clearly the presence of morphological alterations in the cell wall. While in the case of the antibiotic-resistant bacteria morphological alterations are not present. This approach is based on an easy and potentially rapid AFM analysis.


AFM Antibiotic resistance Bacteria images Klebsiella pneumoniae 



The authors would like to thank Dr Marco Solari (Chemilab Chiavari) for helping them with bacteria handling methods, Dr Mario Lambruschini, nicknamed ‘Sassaroli’, for his useful advice on antibiotics treatments, DrNicola Rossi (Basilea University) and Dr Luca Repetto (University of Genoa) for the valuable discussion on the ideas underlying this work. The Lavagna Hospital states that for this work no grant has been received from any funding agency in the public, commercial, and not-for-profit sectors.


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Copyright information

© Indian Academy of Sciences 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Vincenzo Ierardi
    • 1
    Email author
  • Paolo Domenichini
    • 2
  • Silvia Reali
    • 3
  • Gian Marco Chiappara
    • 4
  • Gianluigi Devoto
    • 3
  • Ugo Valbusa
    • 1
  1. 1.Nanomed Labs, Physics DepartmentUniversity of GenoaGenoaItaly
  2. 2.BiuBi srlGenoaItaly
  3. 3.Laboratorio AnalisiOspedale di LavagnaLavagnaItaly
  4. 4.Dipartimento di PrevenzioneASL 4ChiavariItaly

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