Receive a weekly summary and discussion of the top papers of the week by leading researchers in the field.

In Light, science & applications

Early identification of pathogenic bacteria in food, water, and bodily fluids is very important and yet challenging, owing to sample complexities and large sample volumes that need to be rapidly screened. Existing screening methods based on plate counting or molecular analysis present various tradeoffs with regard to the detection time, accuracy/sensitivity, cost, and sample preparation complexity. Here, we present a computational live bacteria detection system that periodically captures coherent microscopy images of bacterial growth inside a 60-mm-diameter agar plate and analyses these time-lapsed holograms using deep neural networks for the rapid detection of bacterial growth and the classification of the corresponding species. The performance of our system was demonstrated by the rapid detection of Escherichia coli and total coliform bacteria (i.e., Klebsiella aerogenes and Klebsiella pneumoniae subsp. pneumoniae) in water samples, shortening the detection time by >12 h compared to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)-approved methods. Using the preincubation of samples in growth media, our system achieved a limit of detection (LOD) of ~1 colony forming unit (CFU)/L in ≤9 h of total test time. This platform is highly cost-effective (~$0.6/test) and has high-throughput with a scanning speed of 24 cm2/min over the entire plate surface, making it highly suitable for integration with the existing methods currently used for bacteria detection on agar plates. Powered by deep learning, this automated and cost-effective live bacteria detection platform can be transformative for a wide range of applications in microbiology by significantly reducing the detection time and automating the identification of colonies without labelling or the need for an expert.

Wang Hongda, Ceylan Koydemir Hatice, Qiu Yunzhe, Bai Bijie, Zhang Yibo, Jin Yiyin, Tok Sabiha, Yilmaz Enis Cagatay, Gumustekin Esin, Rivenson Yair, Ozcan Aydogan