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MICROPLATE READERS


BMG Labtech’s Clariostar plate reader


MICROPLATES MAKE THE SWITCH TO


Dr Andrea Krumm reveals how a microplate reader facilitates microbiology and overcomes auto-fl uorescence


overcome. Synthetic biologists study if bacteria can be engineered to digest plastic and if bacteria are suited to produce fuels. Analysis of the microbiota fi nds out which microbes maintain homeostasis of the human gut. T e classical microbial experiment is the acquisition of growth curves. It measures how fast microbes duplicate, if growth is impaired under specifi c conditions and it determines lag-phase, logarithmic


C


urrently, there are many scientifi c questions that can be answered by microbial research: physicians ask how antibiotic resistances can be


growth phase and the stationary phase. In addition, growth is often determined to normalise another biological measurement. T e growth is typically acquired by measuring the “optical density at 600nm” (OD600). To this end, a sample of bacterial suspension is drawn every hour, placed into a cuvette and absorbance at 600nm is measured. T e measurement is based on the light scattering of bacteria: the more light is scattered, the less light reaches the detector and is expressed as increased absorbance. However, the method has some drawbacks: it is time consuming, it requires


a high sample volume, a time course requires manual intervention throughout the measurement period and it is limited in sensitivity. Here, alternatives for microbial growth measurements are outlined and how they overcome these disadvantages.


FROM A CUVETTE TO A MICROPLATE T e OD600 measurement can easily be transferred to the microplate format. T e 96-well format allows for measurement of 96 samples in parallel as well as reduction of the sample volume down to typically 200 µl. Most importantly, the growth


www.scientistlive.com 19


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