Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Identifying microbial species: New device will help identify the millions of bacteria that populate the world

Date:
July 3, 2014
Source:
Northeastern University
Summary:
Millions of microbial species populate the world, but so far only a few have been identified due to the inability of most microbes to grow in the laboratory. An engineer and a biologist aim to change this. The pair has developed a device that allows scientists to cultivate a single species of bacteria that can then be studied and identified.

DiPietro Assistant Professor of Chemical Engineering Ed Goluch has developed a device that could allow microbiologists to isolate previously uncultivable bacteria from the wild.
Credit: Brooks Canaday/Northeastern University

Millions of microbial species populate the world, but so far only a few have been identified due to the inability of most microbes to grow in the laboratory. Edgar Goluch, an engineer, and Slava Epstein, a biologist, aim to change this. The pair, both researchers at Northeastern University, has developed a device that allows scientists to cultivate a single species of bacteria that can then be studied and identified.

Goluch's previous research devices incorporated permeable membranes that allow sequestered bacteria to be exposed to the nutrients and molecules of their native environment. But natural competition between species, even in the wild, has so far limited the number of species of bacteria that biologists have been able to isolate with these methods and in traditional lab settings.

Goluch and Epstein's device, detailed in a paper released July 1 in the journal PLOS ONE, solves this problem. This new device permits just a single bacterial cell to enter an inner chamber containing a food source, to which the only access is a microscopic passageway just slightly narrower than a single cell. The passageway is so small that the first cell to enter it gets stuck, blocking entry by any other cell or species. Once inside, this cell pro-liferates as in previous devices, and when it does it fills up the inner chamber with a pure, single-species sample, since it is isolated from competition from other species.

In the paper, the team demonstrates the device's ability to separate mixtures of cell types in a laboratory setting. In one experiment, the researchers separated two different bacterial species whose cells are slightly different sizes -- E. coli and P. aueruginosa. In a second experiment, they isolated a combination of similarly sized but differently shaped species that commonly show up together in the marine environment -- Roseobacter sp. and Pscyhoserpens sp. Finally, they used the device to separate cells of the same species that had been differentially tagged to glow either red or green. This final experiment validates the hypothesis that the cells grown inside the food chamber are daughters of the single cell caught in the entryway. Epstein will test the devices in the biological setting beginning this month during a research trip to Greenland.

Going forward, funding from an Instrument Development Biological Research Grant from the National Science Foundation will enable Goluch and his team of engineers to begin optimizing the device and its manufacture on a larger scale.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Northeastern University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Nil Tandogan, Pegah N. Abadian, Slava Epstein, Yoshiteru Aoi, Edgar D. Goluch. Isolation of Microorganisms Using Sub-Micrometer Constrictions. PLoS ONE, 2014; 9 (6): e101429 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0101429

Cite This Page:

Northeastern University. "Identifying microbial species: New device will help identify the millions of bacteria that populate the world." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 3 July 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/07/140703125853.htm>.
Northeastern University. (2014, July 3). Identifying microbial species: New device will help identify the millions of bacteria that populate the world. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 1, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/07/140703125853.htm
Northeastern University. "Identifying microbial species: New device will help identify the millions of bacteria that populate the world." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/07/140703125853.htm (accessed September 1, 2014).

Share This




More Plants & Animals News

Monday, September 1, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

We've Got Mites Living In Our Faces And So Do You

We've Got Mites Living In Our Faces And So Do You

Newsy (Aug. 30, 2014) A new study suggests 100 percent of adult humans (those over 18 years of age) have Demodex mites living in their faces. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Washington Wildlife Center Goes Nuts Over Baby Squirrels

Washington Wildlife Center Goes Nuts Over Baby Squirrels

Reuters - US Online Video (Aug. 30, 2014) An animal rescue in Washington state receives an influx of orphaned squirrels, keeping workers busy as they nurse them back to health. Rough Cut (no reporter narration). Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Experimental Ebola Drug ZMapp Cures Lab Monkeys Of Disease

Experimental Ebola Drug ZMapp Cures Lab Monkeys Of Disease

Newsy (Aug. 29, 2014) In a new study, a promising experimental treatment for Ebola managed to cure a group of infected macaque monkeys. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Killer Amoeba Found in Louisiana Water System

Killer Amoeba Found in Louisiana Water System

AP (Aug. 28, 2014) State health officials say testing has confirmed the presence of a killer amoeba in a water system serving three St. John the Baptist Parish towns. (Aug. 28) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins