Novel Biosensors for Real-Time Antimicrobial Susceptibility Testing

(A) A schematic of the MZOnano-QCM device. (B) Real time detection of the effect of antibiotics (Ampicillin) on the growth of E. coli. (C) and (D) Real time detection of the effect of antifungal agents Miconazole and  Amphotericin B on the growth of yeast.

Invention Summary:

Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is becoming a major global-health concern. Traditional assays available for monitoring bacterial and fungal growth require time-consuming and labor-intensive efforts. There is thus an urgent need to develop rapid and highly sensitive antimicrobial susceptibility testing (AST) tools for diagnosis and surveillance of AMR.

A research team led by Professors Yicheng Lu and Steven Zheng at Rutgers University has developed a highly sensitive, dynamic, rapid, compact and low-cost biosensor for AST applications. This technology employs a magnesium zinc oxide (MZO) nanostructure-modified quartz crystal microbalance (MZOnano-QCM) on which bacteria or other microbes are cultured. The growth of bacteria increases mass loading on the device, leading to a reduction of the vibration frequency of the QCM. This technology is ideal for monitoring of response of microbes to antimicrobial agents in real-time.

The Initial characterization of the MZOnano-QCM biosensor has revealed its capability of detecting the bactericidal effect of ampicillin in E. coli, the growth inhibition effect of miconazole and cytotoxic effect of amphotericin B in yeast within 20-40 min. Additional validation has been performed using clinically relevant bacterial strains, which further demonstrates the versatility of this biosensor in AST applications.

Market Application:

  • Antimicrobial Susceptibility Testing for AMR diagnosis
  • Research tools
  • Drug discovery - high throughput screening of antibiotics, antifungal and anticancer agents


  • Highly sensitive
  • Label-free
  • Rapid & real-time monitoring
  • Capable of being high throughput 
  • Low cost & compact
  • Capable of wireless connection to personal electronics

Intellectual Property & Development Status:

Patent pending in the US, EU, Canada, China & Japan. Available for licensing and/or research collaboration.


Reyes PI, Yang K, Zheng A, Li R, Li G, Lu YC, Tsang CK, Zheng SX (2017) Dynamic monitoring of antimicrobial resistance using magnesium zinc oxide nanostructure-modified quartz crystal microbalance. Biosensors and Bioelectronics. 93:189-197.

Rutgers ID: 2016-031
Life Sciences
Research Tools
Lisa Lyu
Licensing Manager
Yicheng Lu
Pavel Reyes
Steven Zheng
Andrew Zheng
Keyang Yang