Acoustic impedance matched buffers enable separation of bacteria from blood cells at high cell concentrations

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Sepsis is a common and often deadly systemic response to an infection, usually caused by bacteria. The gold standard for finding the causing pathogen in a blood sample is blood culture, which may take hours to days. Shortening the time to diagnosis would significantly reduce mortality. To replace the time-consuming blood culture we are developing a method to directly separate bacteria from red and white blood cells to enable faster bacteria identification. The blood cells are moved from the sample flow into a parallel stream using acoustophoresis. Due to their smaller size, the bacteria are not affected by the acoustic field and therefore remain in the blood plasma flow and can be directed to a separate outlet. When optimizing for sample throughput, 1 ml of undiluted whole blood equivalent can be processed within 12.5 min, while maintaining the bacteria recovery at 90% and the blood cell removal above 99%. That makes this the fastest label-free microfluidic continuous flow method per channel to separate bacteria from blood with high bacteria recovery (>80%). The high throughput was achieved by matching the acoustic impedance of the parallel stream to that of the blood sample, to avoid that acoustic forces relocate the fluid streams.


Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Medical Laboratory and Measurements Technologies
Original languageEnglish
Article number9156
JournalScientific Reports
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2018 Dec 1
Publication categoryResearch