Bacteria inoculation and imaging system
Research in microbial interaction by means of co-inoculation of bacteria can help us gain an understanding of the complex interactions that happen in all biological systems where a “soup” of all kinds of microorganisms is present. At present, this is done by manually inoculating to bacterial colonies in close proximity on a given medium and then doing a growth curve, which involves measuring their growth every 4 hours for 36-72 hours – especially the growth measurement is extremely tedious, and is the reason there are sleeping facilities at the institute because of the long time it takes to finish the data collection. Even going through all this work, the amount of parameters such as differences in growth medium, different combinations of bacteria and a variety of other parameters is extremely limited. Gathering a dataset of a size which can really accelerate our understanding of bacterial interaction would require monumental resources with this traditional approach.
Reshape Biotech and DTU Bioengineering have therefore recently initiated a pilot project to determine the requirements for a high-throughput system capable of automating this process. Not only will this save a lot of valuable time, allowing researchers to instead design new experiments and analyzing results – it will also dramatically increase the amount of data that can be gathered, and the resolution with which the various parameters can be varied. Gaining this understanding will allow advances in a variety of fields – for example understanding the behavior of antibiotics when applied to a complicated biofilm consisting of a variety of bacteria.
Due to our flexible technical infrastructure, we can offer this type of system at a fraction of the cost compared to many of our competitors, while also using the newest technology when it comes to computer vision for measuring and analysing the bacteria colonies automatically, liquid and sample handling to handle the high throughput requirements based on digital fabrication technology, and in the end, the lead researcher for the project at DTU Bioengineering Lars Jelsbak will be able to lead the way in the scientific community because of these new possibilities.
Semi-automatic moss plating
Mosspiration Biotech uses moss as a green cell factory to produce small natural products. Physcomitrella patens or spreading earthmoss is the perfect plant for this. Using Physcomitrella we produce fine chemicals that are normally obtained from rare, endangered or non-agricultural plants.
Mosspiration Biotech was unable to find a spiral plater able to handle the fluid behaviour of dissolved moss particles. The moss is placed on top of a cellophane film, as it needs to be removed from the growth medium after growing sufficiently. The cellophane surface is very smooth, and complicates the plating process due to limited friction.
The task is usually performed by hand by ejecting the suspended moss particles on the plate, and manually spreading the particles over the surface using tweezers. By using our spiral plater, the prepared plate is placed in the holder and the location of the pipette is adjusted in case the height of the agar varies. By the press of a button, the suspended moss particles are then evenly distributed across the plate and the machine is then ready for the next prepared plate. This reduces the amount of manual labour and removes the tiresome and long process of manually spreading the particles by hand.