Rapid monitoring of antibiotics using Raman and surface enhanced Raman spectroscopy

Sarah J. Clarke, Rachael E. Littleford, W. Ewen Smith, Royston Goodacre

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    Comparatively few studies have explored the ability of Raman spectroscopy for the quantitative analysis of microbial secondary metabolites in fermentation broths. In this study we investigated the ability of Raman spectroscopy to differentiate between different penicillins and to quantify the level of penicillin in fermentation broths. However, the Raman signal is rather weak, therefore the Raman signal was enhanced using surface enhanced Raman spectroscopy (SERS) employing silver colloids. It was difficult by eye to differentiate between the five different penicillin molecules studied using Raman and SERS spectra, therefore the spectra were analysed by multivariate cluster analysis. Principal components analysis (PCA) clearly showed that SERS rather than the Raman spectra produced reproducible enough spectra to allow for the recovery of each of the different penicillins into their respective five groups. To highlight this further the first five principal components were used to construct a dendrogram using agglomerative clustering, and this again clearly showed that SERS can be used to identify which penicillin molecule was being analysed, despite their molecular similarities. With respect to the quantification of penicillin G it was shown that Raman spectroscopy could be used to quantify the amount of penicillin present in solution when relatively high levels of penicillin were analysed (>50 mM). By contrast, the SERS spectra showed reduced fluorescence, and improved signal to noise ratios from considerably lower concentrations of the antibiotic. This could prove to be advantageous in industry for monitoring low levels of penicillin in the early stages of antibiotic production. In addition, SERS may have advantages for quantifying low levels of high value, low yield, secondary metabolites in microbial processes. © The Royal Society of Chemistry 2005.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1019-1026
    Number of pages7
    Issue number7
    Publication statusPublished - Jul 2005


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