Biologists “overheard” how bacteria die on a graphene drum

Initially, experts studied the basic mechanics of graphene, but at some point they wondered what would happen,

if this extremely sensitive materialwill come into contact with one biological object. Graphene is a form of carbon made up of a single layer of atoms. It is very robust, with good electrical and mechanical properties, but at the same time very sensitive to external forces.

Collaborating with a group of nanomechanics, scientistsobserved the movement of Escherichia coli bacteria. “When a single bacterium sticks to the surface of a graphene drum, it generates random vibrations with an amplitude of only a few nanometers. They can be found. We could hear the sound of a single bacterium,” the scientists say.

Such fluctuations result frombiological processes of bacteria and the movement of their flagella (tails that push bacteria). “These flagella impacts on graphene are at least 10 billion times smaller than a boxer's impact on a punching bag. However, these nanoscale beats can be converted into audio tracks and listened to, ”the scientists explain.

This research is of great importance fordetection of antibiotic resistance. The results of the experiment were unequivocal: if the bacteria were resistant to the antibiotic, the fluctuations simply continued at the same level, even after exposure to the drugs. But the fluctuations of those in whom resistance was not observed first decreased and then completely disappeared. In this way, scientists could "hear" how the bacteria "die".

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