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Nature Materials
Vol. 15, 2016, Pages: 1203–1211

Detection and imaging of quorum sensing in Pseudomonas aeruginosa biofilm communities by surface-enhanced resonance Raman scattering

Gustavo Bodelón, Verónica Montes-García, Vanesa López-Puente, Eric H. Hill, Cyrille Hamon, Marta N. Sanz-Ortiz, Sergio Rodal-Cedeira, Celina Costas, Sirin Celiksoy, Ignacio Pérez-Juste, Leonardo Scarabelli, Andrea La Porta, Jorge Pérez-Juste, Isabel Pastoriza-Santos & Luis M. Liz-Marzán

Departamento de Química Física, Universidade de Vigo, 36310 Vigo, Spain.


Most bacteria in nature exist as biofilms, which support intercellular signalling processes such as quorum sensing (QS), a cell-to-cell communication mechanism that allows bacteria to monitor and respond to cell density and changes in the environment. As QS and biofilms are involved in the ability of bacteria to cause disease, there is a need for the development of methods for the non-invasive analysis of QS in natural bacterial populations. Here, by using surface-enhanced resonance Raman scattering spectroscopy, we report rationally designed nanostructured plasmonic substrates for the in situ, label-free detection of a QS signalling metabolite in growing Pseudomonas aeruginosa biofilms and microcolonies. The in situ, non-invasive plasmonic imaging of QS in biofilms provides a powerful analytical approach for studying intercellular communication on the basis of secreted molecules as signals.


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