In vitro detection of porphyrin-producing wound bacteria with real-time fluorescence imaging

Laura M. Jones, Danielle Dunham, Monique Y. Rennie, Jeffrey Kirman, Andrea J. Lopez, Klara C. Keim, William Little, Andre Gomez, Jessica Bourke, Herman Ng, Ralph S. Dacosta, Allie Clinton Smith

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

44 Scopus citations


Aim: Fluorescence imaging can visualize polymicrobial populations in chronic and acute wounds based on porphyrin fluorescence. We investigated the fluorescent properties of specific wound pathogens and the fluorescence detected from bacteria in biofilm. Methods: Utilizing Remel Porphyrin Test Agar, 32 bacterial and four yeast species were examined for red fluorescence under 405 nm violet light illumination. Polymicrobial biofilms, supplemented with δ-aminolevulinic acid, were investigated similarly. Results: A total of 28/32 bacteria, 1/4 yeast species and polymicrobial biofilms produced red fluorescence, in agreement with their known porphyrin production abilities. Conclusion: These results identify common wound pathogens capable of producing porphyrin-specific fluorescence and support clinical observations using fluorescence imaging to detect pathogenic bacteria in chronic wounds.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)319-332
Number of pages14
JournalFuture Microbiology
Issue number5
StatePublished - Mar 2020


  • ALA
  • bacteria
  • biofilm
  • fluorescence
  • fluorescence imaging
  • heme
  • porphyrins
  • wounds


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