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Bacteria‐in‐paper, a versatile platform to study bacterial ecology

Authors
  • Hol, Felix J. H.1, 2, 3
  • Whitesides, George M.1, 1
  • Dekker, Cees2
  • 1 Harvard University, USA , (United States)
  • 2 Delft University of Technology, the Netherlands , (Netherlands)
  • 3 Stanford University, USA , (United States)
Type
Published Article
Journal
Ecology Letters
Publisher
Wiley (Blackwell Publishing)
Publication Date
May 16, 2019
Volume
22
Issue
8
Pages
1316–1323
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1111/ele.13274
PMID: 31099139
PMCID: PMC6851840
Source
PubMed Central
Keywords
License
Unknown
External links

Abstract

Habitat spatial structure has a profound influence on bacterial life, yet there currently are no low‐cost equipment‐free laboratory techniques to reproduce the intricate structure of natural bacterial habitats. Here, we demonstrate the use of paper scaffolds to create landscapes spatially structured at the scales relevant to bacterial ecology. In paper scaffolds, planktonic bacteria migrate through liquid‐filled pores, while the paper’s cellulose fibres serve as anchor points for sessile colonies (biofilms). Using this novel approach, we explore bacterial colonisation dynamics in different landscape topographies and characterise the community composition of Escherichia coli strains undergoing centimetre‐scale range expansions in habitats structured at the micrometre scale. The bacteria‐in‐paper platform enables quantitative assessment of bacterial community dynamics in complex environments using everyday materials.

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