Mighty small: Observing and modeling individual microbes becomes big science

Kreft, J-U; Plugge, CM; Grimm, V; Prats, C; Leveau, JHJ; Banitz, T; Baines, S; Clark, JR; Rose, A; Klapper, I; Topping, CJ; Field, AJ; Schuler, A; Litchman, E; Hellweger, FL. 2013 Mighty small: Observing and modeling individual microbes becomes big science. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 110 (45). 18027-18028. 10.1073/pnas.1317472110

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Official URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1317472110

Abstract/Summary

Progress in microbiology has always been driven by technological advances, ever since Antonie van Leeuwenhoek discovered bacteria by making an improved compound microscope. However, until very recently we have not been able to identify microbes and record their mostly invisible activities, such as nutrient consumption or toxin production on the level of the single cell, not even in the laboratory. This is now changing with the rapid rise of exciting new technologies for single-cell microbiology (1, 2), which enable microbiologists to do what plant and animal ecologists have been doing for a long time: observe who does what, when, where, and next to whom. Single cells taken from the environment can be identified and even their genomes sequenced. Ex situ, their size, elemental, and biochemical composition, as well as other characteristics can be measured with high-throughput and cells sorted accordingly. Even better, individual microbes can be observed in situ with a range of novel microscopic and spectroscopic methods, enabling localization, identification, or functional characterization of cells in a natural sample, combined with detecting uptake of labeled compounds. Alternatively, they can be placed into fabricated microfluidic environments, where they can be positioned, exposed to stimuli, monitored, and their interactions controlled “in microfluido.” By introducing genetically engineered reporter cells into a fabricated landscape or a microcosm taken from nature, their reproductive success or activity can be followed, or their sensing of their local environment recorded.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Subjects: Data and Information
Earth Observation - Remote Sensing
Technology
Divisions: Plymouth Marine Laboratory > National Capability categories > Modelling
Depositing User: James Clark
Date made live: 27 Feb 2014 14:30
Last Modified: 06 Jun 2017 16:10
URI: http://plymsea.ac.uk/id/eprint/5539

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