Optimising a microfluidic chemostat for experiments using cyanobacteria, including growth and feeding channels.
Cyanobacteria are ubiquitous autotrophic bacteria that have the natural ability to utilize sunlight to convert atmospheric CO2 into carbohydrates. Cyanobacteria’s photosynthetic abilities are very appealing to synthetic biology and biotechnology. Microfluidic chemostats provide an ideal environment in which the environmental conditions can be controlled tightly. The media can be exchanged easily during the experiment thus allowing for switching between for example carbon rich and carbon poor media or media with and without specific stress inducers. The mother machine design has the following advantages compared to other chemostats: 1. The mother cell can be followed for an unlimited period of time. 2. As the cells grow in a line, rather than randomly orientated like in the case of a normal bacteria colony, image analysis (segmenting and single-cell tracking) is easier. 3. The media can still be easily exchanged.
The Green Mother Machine - a microfluidics device for cyanobacteria (.pdf)