Chlamydia trachomatis (CT) is the most prevalent bacterial sexually transmitted infection (STIs) reported to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). There were 1.2 million cases of chlamydia reported to the CDC in 2008. Neisseria gonorrhoeae (GC) is also one of the most prevalent sexually transmitted infections in men and women. In 2009, there were 301 174, cases reported to the CDC, a rate of 99.1 per 100 000 populations. The CDC estimates that STIs cost the healthcare system $1.5 billion annually. Subsequently, there is an urgent need to develop a low cost sensitive and specific rapid diagnostic test to detect bacterial sexually transmitted infections. To this end, an exciting, novel and rapid technology, which integrates power lysis” and MAMEF (Microwave-Accelerated Metal-Enhanced Fluorescence), to both lyse CT and GC and detect the DNA released from CT and GC and combined CT and GC samples, within 40 s, is demonstrated. In a microwave cavity, 2.45 GHz microwave energy is highly focused into a lysing chamber, using 100 nm thick gold films with “bow-tie” structures, to lyse the bacteria within 10 s. The ultrafast detection of the released DNA from <100 cfu/ml bacteria is accomplished in an additional 30 s by employing the microwave-accelerated metal-enhanced fluorescence (MAMEF) technique. This new “release and detect” platform technology is a highly attractive alternative method for the lysing of bacteria, DNA extraction and the fast quantification of bacteria and potentially many other pathogenic species and cells as well. Our approach is a significant step forward for the development of a point of care test for bacteria.
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