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On Sample Preparation for Surface-Enhanced Raman Scattering (SERS) of Bacteria and the Source of Spectral Features of the Spectra

Volume 65, Number 5 (May 2011) Page 500-506


The characterization, detection, and identification of bacteria using surface-enhanced Raman scattering (SERS) spectroscopy is drawing considerable attention due to its ability to provide rich intrinsic molecular information about molecules and molecular structures in close proximity to noble metal surfaces. However, sample preparation methods and experimental conditions must be carefully evaluated in order to obtain healthy, interpretable, and comparable results. In this study, several bacterial species including E. coli, B. megaterium, S. aureus, and S. cohnii were systematically evaluated to demonstrate the source of the spectral features of bacterial SERS spectra. It was found that the features observed in bacterial SERS spectra originate mostly from the bacteria surface with some contributions from metabolic activity or molecular species detached from the bacteria surface during sample preparation.

Index Headings: Surface-enhanced Raman scattering spectroscopy; SERS; Bacteria identification; Sample preparation; Experimental conditions; Spectral origins.