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“Basicles”: Microbial Growth and Production Monitoring in Giant Lipid Vesicles

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posted on 10.09.2019, 16:47 authored by Petra Jusková, Yannick R. F. Schmid, Ariane Stucki, Steven Schmitt, Martin Held, Petra S. Dittrich
We present an optimized protocol to encapsulate bacteria inside giant unilamellar lipid vesicles combined with a microfluidic platform for real-time monitoring of microbial growth and production. The microfluidic device allows us to immobilize the lipid vesicles and record bacterial growth and production using automated microscopy. Moreover, the lipid vesicles retain hydrophilic molecules and therefore can be used to accumulate products of microbial biosynthesis, which we demonstrate here for a riboflavin-producing bacterial strain. We show that stimulation as well as inhibition of bacterial production can be performed through the liposomal membrane simply by passive diffusion of inducing or antibiotic compounds, respectively. The possibility to introduce as well as accumulate compounds in liposomal cultivation compartments represents great advantage over the current state of the art systems, emulsion droplets, and gel beads. Additionally, the encapsulation of bacteria and monitoring of individual lipid vesicles have been accomplished on a single microfluidic device. The presented system paves the way toward highly parallel microbial cultivation and monitoring as required in biotechnology, basic research, or drug discovery.