Long-Term Monitoring of Bacteria Undergoing Programmed Population Control in a Microchemostat

Science  01 Jul 2005:
Vol. 309, Issue 5731, pp. 137-140
DOI: 10.1126/science.1109173

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Using an active approach to preventing biofilm formation, we implemented a microfluidic bioreactor that enables long-term culture and monitoring of extremely small populations of bacteria with single-cell resolution. We used this device to observe the dynamics of Escherichia coli carrying a synthetic “population control” circuit that regulates cell density through a feedback mechanism based on quorum sensing. The microfluidic bioreactor enabled long-term monitoring of unnatural behavior programmed by the synthetic circuit, which included sustained oscillations in cell density and associated morphological changes, over hundreds of hours.

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