Dynamic control and quantification of bacterial population dynamics in droplets.
Culturing and measuring bacterial population dynamics are critical to develop insights into gene regulation or bacterial physiology. Traditional methods, based on bulk culture to obtain such quantification, have the limitations of higher cost/volume of reagents, non-amendable to small size of population and more laborious manipulation. To this end, droplet-based microfluidics represents a promising alternative that is cost-effective and high-throughput. However, difficulties in manipulating the droplet environment and monitoring encapsulated bacterial population for long-term experiments limit its utilization. To overcome these limitations, we used an electrode-free injection technology to modulate the chemical environment in droplets. This ability is critical for precise control of bacterial dynamics in droplets. Moreover, we developed a trapping device for long-term monitoring of population dynamics in individual droplets for at least 240 h. We demonstrated the utility of this new microfluidic system by quantifying population dynamics of natural and engineered bacteria. Our approach can further improve the analysis for systems and synthetic biology in terms of manipulability and high temporal resolution.
Huang, S; Srimani, JK; Lee, AJ; Zhang, Y; Lopatkin, AJ; Leong, KW; You, L
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