New device zooms in on microbe behaviour at the right scale
Marine microbes play an important role in the productivity and functioning of our oceans but scientists studying their behaviour face many challenges.
Traditional oceanographic instruments sample large volumes of seawater (up to tens of litres) but microbial interactions take place at a micro-litre scale.
Engineers and microbiologists in Australia, the US and Switzerland have formed a unique partnership to overcome these limitations. The team has developed a device that allows microbial ecologists to investigate microbial behaviour in their natural environment.
The new device exploits recent advances in microfabrication and microfluidic techniques that also opens-up a range of possibilities for biomedical research and water quality biomonitoring. The development, testing and first field results of the device, known as the In Situ Chemotaxis Assay (ISCA), have been published in Nature Microbiology.
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