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Licensed Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter July 10, 2020

Exploring the possibilities of infrared spectroscopy for urine sediment examination and detection of pathogenic bacteria in urinary tract infections

  • Mieke Steenbeke ORCID logo , Sander De Bruyne , Jerina Boelens , Matthijs Oyaert , Griet Glorieux , Wim Van Biesen , Jere Linjala , Joris R. Delanghe EMAIL logo and Marijn M. Speeckaert



In this study, the possibilities of Fourier-transformed infrared spectroscopy (FTIR) for analysis of urine sediments and for detection of bacteria causing urinary tract infections (UTIs) were investigated.


Dried urine specimens of control subjects and patients presenting with various nephrological and urological conditions were analysed using mid-infrared spectroscopy (4,000–400 cm−1). Urine samples from patients with a UTI were inoculated on a blood agar plate. After drying of the pure bacterial colonies, FTIR was applied and compared with the results obtained by matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization time-of-flight mass spectrometry (MALDI-TOF MS). Chemometric data analysis was used to classify the different species.


Due to the typical molecular assignments of lipids, proteins, nucleic acids and carbohydrates, FTIR was able to identify bacteria and showed promising results in the detection of proteins, lipids, white and red blood cells, as well as in the identification of crystals. Principal component analysis (PCA) allowed to differentiate between Gram-negative and Gram-positive species and soft independent modelling of class analogy (SIMCA) revealed promising classification ratios between the different pathogens.


FTIR can be considered as a supplementary method for urine sediment examination and for detection of pathogenic bacteria in UTI.

Corresponding author: Prof. Dr. Joris R. Delanghe, Department of Diagnostic Sciences, Ghent University, Corneel Heymanslaan 10, 9000 Ghent, Belgium, Phone: +32 9 332 29 56, Fax: +32 9 332 49 85, E-mail:
Joris R. Delanghe and Marijn M. Speeckaert contributed equally to this work.
  1. Research funding: None declared.

  2. Author contributions: All authors have accepted responsibility for the entire content of this manuscript and approved its submission.

  3. Competing interests: Authors state no conflict of interest.

  4. Informed consent: Informed consent was obtained from all individuals included in this study.

  5. Ethical approval: The approval of this study was granted by the Ethical committee of the Ghent University Hospital (EC2019/1379) on Dec 13, 2019.


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Received: 2020-04-16
Accepted: 2020-06-01
Published Online: 2020-07-10
Published in Print: 2020-09-25

© 2020 Walter de Gruyter GmbH, Berlin/Boston

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