In their natural environment, bacteria often behave differently than they do under laboratory conditions. To gain insight into the physiology of bacteria in situ, dedicated approaches are required to monitor their adaptations and specific behaviors under environmental conditions. Optical microscopy is crucial for the observation of fundamental characteristics of bacteria, such as cell shape, size, and marker gene expression. Here, fluidic force microscopy (FluidFM) was exploited to isolate optically selected bacteria for subsequent identification and characterization. In this study, bacteriochlorophyll-producing bacteria, which can be visualized due to their characteristic fluorescence in the infrared range, were isolated from leaf washes. Bacterial communities from the phyllosphere were investigated because they harbor genes indicative of aerobic anoxygenic photosynthesis. Our data show that different species of Methylobacterium express their photosystem in planta, and they show a distinct pattern of bacteriochlorophyll production under laboratory conditions that is dependent on supplied carbon sources.
Stiefel, P., T. Zambelli, J. A. Vorholt
Applied and Environmental Microbiology