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PLoS One. 2014 Aug 27;9(8):e104334. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0104334. eCollection 2014.

Extraction and sensitive detection of toxins A and B from the human pathogen Clostridium difficile in 40 seconds using microwave-accelerated metal-enhanced fluorescence.

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Cardiff School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, Cardiff University, Cardiff, United Kingdom.
Institute of Fluorescence, University of Maryland, Baltimore County, Baltimore, Maryland, United States of America.


Clostridium difficile is the primary cause of antibiotic associated diarrhea in humans and is a significant cause of morbidity and mortality. Thus the rapid and accurate identification of this pathogen in clinical samples, such as feces, is a key step in reducing the devastating impact of this disease. The bacterium produces two toxins, A and B, which are thought to be responsible for the majority of the pathology associated with the disease, although the relative contribution of each is currently a subject of debate. For this reason we have developed a rapid detection assay based on microwave-accelerated metal-enhanced fluorescence which is capable of detecting the presence of 10 bacteria in unprocessed human feces within 40 seconds. These promising results suggest that this prototype biosensor has the potential to be developed into a rapid, point of care, real time diagnostic assay for C. difficile.

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