Bacterial culture is a basic technique in both fundamental and applied microbiology.The excessive reagent consumption and laborious maintenance of bulk bioreactors for microbial culture have prompted the development of miniaturized on-chip bio-reactors. With the minimal choice of two compartments (N=2) and discrete time, periodic dilution steps, we realize a microfluidic bioreactor that mimics macroscopic serial dilution transfer culture. This device supports automated, long-term microbial cultures with a nanoliter-scale working volume and real-time monitoring of microbial populations at single-cell resolution. Because of the high surface-to-volume ratio, the device also operates as an effective biofilm-flow reactor to support cogrowth of planktonic and biofilm populations. We expect that such devices will open opportunities in many fields of microbiology.
Gu, Guo-Yue, Yi-Wei Lee, Chih-Chung Chiang, Ya-Tang Yang