Rapid detection of microorganisms in a fish infection microfluidics platform

Research output: Journal Publications and Reviews (RGC: 21, 22, 62)21_Publication in refereed journalpeer-review

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Original languageEnglish
Article number128572
Journal / PublicationJournal of Hazardous Materials
Online published25 Feb 2022
Publication statusPublished - 5 Jun 2022


Inadequate access to clean water is detrimental to human health and aquatic industries. Waterborne pathogens can survive prolonged periods in aquatic bodies, infect commercially important seafood, and resist water disinfection, resulting in human infections. Environmental agencies and research laboratories require a relevant, portable, and cost-effective platform to monitor microbial pathogens and assess their risk of infection on a large scale. Advances in microfluidics enable better control and higher precision than traditional culture-based pathogen monitoring approaches. We demonstrated a rapid, high-throughput fish-based teleost (fish)-microbe (TelM) microfluidic-based device that simultaneously monitors waterborne pathogens in contaminated waters and assesses their infection potential under well-defined settings. A chamber-associated port allows direct access to the animal, while the transparency of the TelM platform enables clear observation of sensor readouts. As proof-of-concept, we established a wound infection model using Pseudomonas aeruginosa-contaminated water in the TelM platform, where bacteria formed biofilms on the wound and secreted a biofilm metabolite, pyoverdine. Pyoverdine was used as fluorescent sensor to correlate P. aeruginosa contamination to infection. The TelM platform was validated with environmental waterborne microbes from marine samples. Overall, the TelM platform can be readily applied to assess microbial and chemical risk in aquatic bodies in resource-constrained settings.

Research Area(s)

  • Waterborne pathogen, Fish, Biofilm, Pathogen monitoring, Microfluidics