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The bacteria Pseudomonas aeruginosa is an ubiquitous environmental pathogen that is one of the top three causes of opportunistic human infection. Often it is found in water, soil, skin flora, and most man-made environments. It is a frequent cause of infections such as pneumonia, swimmer’s ear, urinary tract infections (UTIs), and bacteremia. For this reason, chemiluminescence and Lux system parts have been pulled and built into mutated Escherichia coli that can detect the presence of P. aeruginosa.

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P. aeruginosa is a Gram-negative aerobic rod. Like others in its genus, it is a free-living bacteria. It is known, however, as a true plant pathogen and increasingly as a disease-causer in animals. This opportunistic pathogen is gaining increasing attention. It rarely infects healthy tissue, but there is little tissue it cannot infect if the host tissue is compromised. It is becoming increasingly common in severe burn patients, and patients with cancer or AIDS who are immunosuppressed. Case fatality rate in these pacients is nearing 50%.



Because of the increasing severity of this pathogen, we are creating a device to detect it. We are using E. coli as the base of our machine. It detects P. aeruginosa by quorum sensing factors and reports using the gene for Green Flurorescent Protein. Ultimately, we would like to create a device that detects and measures the glow to determine, not only if P. aeruginosa is present, but also an approximation of the concentration. We would like to have a small, handheld device like the glucometer shown in the picture to the right.