It has been recently suggested [N. E. Marotta and L. A. Bottomley, Appl. Spectrosc. 64, 601–606 (2010)] that previously reported surface-enhanced Raman scattering (SERS) spectra of vegetative bacterial cells are due to residual cell growth media that were not properly removed
from samples of the lab-cultured microorganism suspensions. SERS spectra of several commonly used cell growth media are similar to those of bacterial cells, as shown here and reported elsewhere. However, a multivariate data analysis approach shows that SERS spectra of different bacterial species
grown in the same growth media exhibit different characteristic vibrational spectra, SERS spectra of the same organism grown in different media display the same SERS spectrum, and SERS spectra of growth media do not cluster near the SERS spectra of washed bacteria. Furthermore, a bacterial
SERS spectrum grown in a minimal medium, which uses inorganics for a nitrogen source and displays virtually no SERS features, exhibits a characteristic bacterial SERS spectrum. We use multivariate analysis to show how successive water washing and centrifugation cycles remove cell growth media
and result in a robust bacterial SERS spectrum in contrast to the previous study attributing bacterial SERS signals to growth media.
Department of Chemistry and The Photonics Center, Boston University, Boston, Massachusetts 02215, USA
Publication date: May 1, 2011
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