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eNose Helps Identify Bacteria Causing Soft Tissue Infections

A recent study carried out at the University of Tampere, Tampere University of Technology, Pirkanmaa Hospital District and Fimlab in Finland has established the possibility of using an electronic nose (eNose) for identifying the most common bacteria causing soft tissue infections.

The eNose can be employed for detecting the bacteria without the prior preparation of samples, and the system indeed was capable of distinguishing methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) from methicillin-sensitive Staphylococcus aureus (MSSA).

Medical treatment is needed for common diseases like skin and soft tissue infections. Their diagnosis is generally based on bacterial cultures, but in basic cases the diagnosis may be directly made based on the clinical presentation of the disease. However, this may result in empirical antibiotic treatments, referring to treatments without a particular diagnosis, which may lead to longer treatment times, increased costs and adverse effects.

“Our aim was to create a method for the rapid diagnosis of soft tissue infections. If we had such a method, treatment could be started in a timely manner and targeted to the relevant pathogen directly. This would reduce the need for empirical treatments and shorten diagnostic delays,” says doctoral researcher Taavi Saviauk from the Faculty of Medicine and Life Sciences at the University of Tampere.

“The portable eNose device we used does not require laboratory conditions or special training, so it is well suited for outpatient use. The results of this study are a significant step towards our goal,” Saviauk continues.

An electronic nose is a device capable of developing“an olfactory profile” for each molecular compound present in the air. The results are examined by a computer and the system is then programmed to distinguish between varied compounds.

The research group performing the study has earlier demonstrated how an eNose can be successfully employed for differentiating prostate cancer from benign prostatic hyperplasia by using a urine sample and the distinguishing between the different bacteria responsible for causing urinary tract infections.

Saviauk T., Kiiski J.P., Nieminen M.K., Tamminen N.N., Roine A.N., Kumpulainen P.S., Hokkinen L.J., Karjalainen M.T., Vuento R.E., Aittoniemi J.J., Lehtimäki T.J., Oksala N.K: Electronic Nose in the Detection of Wound Infection Bacteria from Bacterial Cultures: A Proof-of-Principle Study. European Surgical Research 2018;59:1–11

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