Surface-enhanced Raman spectroscopy for bacterial discrimination utilizing a scanning electron microscope with a Raman spectroscopy interface.Anal Chem. 2004 Sep 01; 76(17):5198-202.AC
Surface-enhanced Raman scattering (SERS) utilizing colloidal silver has already been shown to provide a rapid means of generating "whole-organism fingerprints" for use in bacterial identification and discrimination. However, one of the main drawbacks of the technique for the analysis of microbiological samples with optical Raman microspectroscopy has been the inability to acquire pre-emptively a region of the sample matrix where both the SERS substrate and biomass are both present. In this study, we introduce a Raman interface for scanning electron microscopy (SEM) and demonstrate the application of this technology to the reproducible and targeted collection of bacterial SERS spectra. In secondary electron mode, the SEM images clearly reveal regions of the sample matrix where the sodium borohydride-reduced silver colloidal particles are present, Stokes spectra collected from these regions are rich in vibrational bands, whereas spectra taken from other areas of the sample elicit a strong fluorescence response. Replicate SERS spectra were collected from two bacterial strains and show excellent reproducibility both by visual inspection and as demonstrated by principal components analysis on the whole SERS spectra.