SERS-based rapid assay for sensitive detection of Group A Streptococcus by evaluation of the swab sampling technique
Beta-hemolytic, Group A Streptococcus pyogenes (GAS) is a life-threating pathogen and the reason for prominent disease, pharyngitis. The conventional analysis of GAS, gold standard, takes 48 hours and the related rapid tests lack in accuracy and sensitivity. In this study, firstly, the efficiency of swab sampling, which is a must in the GAS detection, was discussed with the proposed surface-enhanced Raman spectroscopy (SERS)-based batch assay and each step was controlled by the plate-counting method. Secondly, SERS-based lateral flow immunoassay (LFIA) test strips were constructed and the variation in the SERS intensity of 5,5′-dithiobis (2-nitrobenzoic acid) (DTNB) was observed. Thus, a linear correlation was found with a R2 value of 0.9926 and the LOD was calculated to be 0.2 CFU mL−1 of GAS which could be counted as one cell. The combination of the gold standard with the LFIA-SERS technique enabled the fast and accurate pathogen detection. In addition, GAS was quantified with paper-based test strips up to 100 CFU ml−1 level of bacteria for the first time without any interference. Besides, this study was featured with the discussion of the whole cell and pretreated cell detection of pathogens with LFIAs. Therefore, this work enlightens the points that have never been discussed on pathogen detection with paper-based platforms.