Nanostructured silver–gold bimetallic SERS substrates for selective identification of bacteria in human blood†
Surface-enhanced Raman spectroscopy (SERS) is a potentially important tool in the rapid and accurate detection of pathogenic bacteria in biological fluids. However, for diagnostic application of this technique, it is necessary to develop a highly sensitive, stable, biocompatible and reproducible SERS-active substrate. In this work, we have developed a silver–gold bimetallic SERS surface by a simple potentiostatic electrodeposition of a thin gold layer on an electrochemically roughened nanoscopic silver substrate. The resultant substrate was very stable under atmospheric conditions and exhibited the strong Raman enhancement with the high reproducibility of the recorded SERS spectra of bacteria (E. coli, S. enterica, S. epidermidis, and B. megaterium). The coating of the antibiotic over the SERS substrate selectively captured bacteria from blood samples and also increased the Raman signal in contrast to the bare surface. Finally, we have utilized the antibiotic-coated hybrid surface to selectively identify different pathogenic bacteria, namely E. coli, S. enterica and S. epidermidis from blood samples.