Atomic force microscopy combined with infrared spectroscopy as a tool to probe single bacterium chemistry

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Atomic Force Microscopy-Infrared Spectroscopy (AFM-IR) is a novel combinatory technique, enabling simultaneous characterization of physical properties and chemical composition of sample with nanoscale resolution. By combining AFM with IR, the spatial resolution limitation of conventional IR is overcome, enabling a resolution of 20–100 nm to be achieved. This opens the door for a broad array of new applications of IR toward probing samples smaller than several micrometers, previously unachievable by means of conventional IR microscopy. AFM-IR is eminently suited for bacterial research, providing both spectral and spatial information at the single cell and intracellular level. The increasing global health concerns and unfavorable future prediction regarding bacterial infections, and especially, rapid development of antimicrobial resistance, has created an urgent need for a research tool capable of phenotypic probing at the single cell and subcellular level. AFM-IR offers the potential to address this need, by enabling detail characterization of chemical composition of a single bacterium. Here, we provide a complete protocol for sample preparation and data acquisition of single spectra and mapping modality, for the application of AFM-IR toward bacterial studies.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere61728
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Visualized Experiments
Issue number163
Publication statusPublished - 15 Sept 2020

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