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Raman spectroscopy: lighting up the future of microbial identification

Research output: Contribution to Journal/MagazineJournal articlepeer-review

  • Lorna Ashton
  • Katherine Lau
  • Catherine L. Winder
  • Royston Goodacre
<mark>Journal publication date</mark>09/2011
<mark>Journal</mark>Future Microbiology
Issue number9
Number of pages7
Pages (from-to)991-997
Publication StatusPublished
<mark>Original language</mark>English


Over the last decade Raman spectroscopy has become established as a physicochemical technique for the rapid identification of microbes. This powerful analytical method generates a spectroscopic fingerprint from the microbial sample, which provides quantitative and qualitative information that can be used to characterize, discriminate and identify microorganisms, in both bacteria slurry and at the single-cell level. Recent developments in Raman spectroscopy have dramatically increased in recent years due to the enhancement of the signal by techniques including tip-enhanced Raman spectroscopy and coherent anti-Stokes Raman spectroscopy and due to the availability of user-friendly instrumentation and software. The result of this has been reduced cost and rapid collection time, and it has allowed the nonspecialist access to this physical sciences approach for biological applications. In this article, we will briefly explain the technique of Raman spectroscopy and discuss enhancement techniques, including the recent application of tip-enhanced Raman spectroscopy to microbiology, as well as the move towards rapid microbial identification with Raman spectroscopy. Furthermore, recent studies have combined Raman spectroscopy with microfluidic devices, giving greater control of sample conditions, which will no doubt have an important impact in the future development of Raman spectroscopy for microbial identification.