A multifunctional SERS sticky note for real-time quorum sensing tracing and inactivation of bacterial biofilms†
Quorum sensing (QS) is crucial for bacterial survival and activity. Although detecting related signaling metabolites can reveal QS, a versatile platform for convenient real-time imaging of their secretion in the context of bacterial biofilms along with inhibition to the growth of biofilms is still highly desired. Here we develop a flexible sticky note with a sandwich structure by encapsulating gold nanostars between two pieces of hexagonal boron nitride layers, which can be easily pasted on natural biofilms to monitor in real-time the secreted signaling molecule by SERS imaging with high sensitivity and spatiotemporal resolution. Using Pseudomonas aeruginosa and its pyocyanin secretion as a model and an internal standard for self-calibration of SERS signals, the sticky note achieves reliable quantification and a rapid response to the secretion as early as 1 h biofilm growth. With antibiotic loading, the multifunctional SERS sticky note also demonstrated effective inactivation of the bacterial biofilm with simultaneous evaluation of the inactivation effect. This multifunctional SERS sticky note provides a versatile platform for investigating bacterial behaviors and developing antibacterial therapeutics.