Early stage detection of Staphylococcus epidermidis biofilm formation using MgZnO dual-gate TFT biosensor

Guangyuan Li, Yifan Wu, Yuxuan Li, Yuzhi Hong, Xilin Zhao, Pavel Ivanoff Reyes, Yicheng Lu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Early stage detection of biofilm formation is an important aspect of microbial research because once formed, biofilms show serious tolerance to antibiotics in contrast to the free-floating bacteria, which significantly increases the difficulty for clinical treatment of bacterial infections. The early stage detection technology is desired to improve the efficiency of medical treatments. In this work, we present a biosensor consisting of a magnesium zinc oxide (MZO) dual gate thin-film transistor (DGTFT) as the actuator and an MZO nanostructure (MZOnano) array coated conducting pad as the extended sensing gate for the early stage detection of Staphylococcus epidermidis (S. epidermidis) biofilm formation. S. epidermidis bacteria were cultured in vitro on the nanostructure modified sensing pad. Charge transfer occurs between microbial cells and the MZOnano during the initial bacterial adhesion stage. Such electrical signals, which represent the onset of biofilm formation, were dynamically detected by the DGTFT where the top gate electrode was connected to the extended MZOnano sensing pad and the bottom gate was used for biasing the device into the optimum characteristic region for high sensitivity and stable operation. The testing results show that a current change of ~80% is achieved after ~200 min of bacterial culturing. A crystal violet staining-based assay shows that tiny bacterial microcolonies just start to form at 200 min, and that it would take approximately 24 h to form matured biofilms. This technology enables medical professionals to act promptly on bacterial infection before biofilms get fully established.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number111993
JournalBiosensors and Bioelectronics
StatePublished - Mar 1 2020

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biotechnology
  • Biophysics
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Electrochemistry


  • Bioelectric effect
  • Biofilm detection
  • Biosensor
  • Magnesium zinc oxide
  • Nanostructures
  • Thin film transistor

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