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PROMICON looks into the automated online flow cytometry for bacterial community analysis

12 June 2023
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Microbiome research has gained significant attention in recent years due to its relevance in understanding complex interactions between microorganisms and their environments. Among the various parameters studied, cell density plays a crucial role in both microbiome research and biotechnological processes. Traditionally, cell density determination has been performed offline and manually, leading to delays in data processing and hampering timely actions. Although some online methods for rapid and automated cell density determination exist, they often fail to differentiate between distinct cell types within bacterial communities. To bridge this gap, a team of leading international experts, amongst which the PROMICON project partners Konstanze Schiessl, Michael D. Besmer (onCyt) and Susann Müller (UFZ), have developed a groundbreaking research article titled "Development of an Automated Online Flow Cytometry Method to Quantify Cell Density and Fingerprint Bacterial Communities."

The paper is available in the Cells journal and presents an innovative approach. The OC-300 automation device, coupled with the CytoFLEX flow cytometer, enables automated sampling, dilution, fixation, and staining of bacterial samples. This method allows for reproducible measurement of cell density and the identification of distinct cell subsets within bacterial communities. By enabling real-time cell density determination and detailed bacterial community analysis, this breakthrough overcomes previous limitations. The method's automation, high-resolution analysis, and correlation identification capabilities offer exciting opportunities for optimising biotechnological processes and advancing our understanding of microbiome dynamics.

Read the full paper here.

Photo: Comparison of the patterns of three pure strains, harvested in the stationary phase of growth, when performed automatically (K. rhizophila, P. polymyxa, S. rhizophila; (ac) and manually (eg). The microbial community MC is also both measured automatically (d) and manually (h). The Y-axis represents the measured DAPI fluorescence, and the X-axis the forward scatter. Further, 0.5 µm and 1.0 μm UV fluoresbrite microspheres were added to the manual measurements. Instrumental noise is clearly separated from the pure strains marked by gates and the MC under all conditions. The color marks the density of the cell abundance.