Nanotechnology Now





Heifer International

Wikipedia Affiliate Button


DHgate

Home > Press > Flat bacteria in nanoslits

Abstract:
It appears that bacteria can squeeze through practically anything. In extremely small nanoslits they take on a completely new flat shape. Even in this squashed form they continue to grow and divide at normal speeds. This has been demonstrated by research carried out at TU Delft's Kavli Institute of Nanoscience. The results will be appearing this week in the online edition of the prestigious scientific journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) and as the cover article in the September 1 print issue of PNAS.

Flat bacteria in nanoslits

Delft, Netherlands | Posted on August 17th, 2009

Using nanofabrication, Delft scientists made minuscule channels, measuring a micrometer or less in width and 50 micrometer in length, on a silicon chip between tiny chambers containing bacteria. Subsequently they studied the behaviour of Escherichia. coli and Bacillus. subtilis bacteria in this artificial environment. The bacteria were genetically modified so that they were fluorescent and could easily be followed using a special microscope.

Squashed flat

Under normal circumstances these bacteria swim and this research showed that they retain this motility in surprisingly narrow channels. They swam just as actively as usual even in channels that were only 30 percent wider than their own diameter (of about 1 micrometer). In even narrower submicron channels the bacteria stopped swimming, and an unexpected effect took place: The bacteria were able to make their way through ultra-narrow passageways in another manner, that is by growing and dividing. The researchers found that this way, E. coli bacteria could squeeze through narrow slits that were only half their own diameter in width. Post-doctoral researcher, Jaan Männik: "This took us totally by surprise. The bacteria become completely flattened. They have all sorts of peculiar shapes both in the channels and when they finally come out at the other side. What is really remarkable, however, is that in the channels, and therefore under extreme confinement, they continue to grow and divide at normal speeds. Apparently their shape is not a determining factor for these activities."

Subterranean bacteria, membrane filters and pacemakers

The flat bacteria form a new phenotype,. According to the researchers, this form may be more common than one might think. The bulk of the biomass on Earth is to be found under the ground. Here, bacteria often live in spaces that measure around a micrometer. The study suggests that many more bacteria may be present in small spaces than was always thought. This may have direct consequences, for example for membrane filters (with tiny pores) for water treatment and for medical applications, such as pacemakers or other implants, where bacteria must be excluded as much as possible. The results of the study also provide more fundamental understanding of the behaviour of bacteria that are 'locked up' in nanosized environments.

Multidisciplinary

Little is known about the effect of this sort of confinement on the behaviour of bacteria as yet. According to Prof. Cees Dekker, this has to do with the required combination of very different disciplines: "Microbiologists do not generally engage in nanofabrication, which enables us to examine this area under controlled conditions, and nanoscientists usually know little about the behaviour of bacteria. My colleague, Juan Keymer, an evolutionary biologist, and I are now trying to combine these disciplines in our new Department of Bionanoscience. And this is leading to all sorts of new discoveries."

The research results will be appearing in the week beginning 17 August in the online edition of the scientific journal, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (USA). The article will also be featured as the cover article in the print version of PNAS to be published on 1 September 2009.

####

For more information, please click here

Contacts:
Prof. Cees Dekker

31-015-278-6094

Copyright © Delft University of Technology

If you have a comment, please Contact us.

Issuers of news releases, not 7th Wave, Inc. or Nanotechnology Now, are solely responsible for the accuracy of the content.

Bookmark:
Delicious Digg Newsvine Google Yahoo Reddit Magnoliacom Furl Facebook

Related News Press

News and information

Stanford breakthrough heralds super-efficient light-based computers: Light can transmit more data while consuming far less power than electricity, and an engineering feat brings optical data transport closer to replacing wires May 29th, 2015

Donuts, math, and superdense teleportation of quantum information May 29th, 2015

OSU researchers prove magnetism can control heat, sound: Team leverages OSC services to help confirm, interpret experimental findings May 29th, 2015

Two UCSB Professors Receive Early Career Research Awards: The Department of Energy’s award for young scientists acknowledges UC Santa Barbara’s standing as a top tier research institution May 29th, 2015

Discoveries

Stanford breakthrough heralds super-efficient light-based computers: Light can transmit more data while consuming far less power than electricity, and an engineering feat brings optical data transport closer to replacing wires May 29th, 2015

Donuts, math, and superdense teleportation of quantum information May 29th, 2015

OSU researchers prove magnetism can control heat, sound: Team leverages OSC services to help confirm, interpret experimental findings May 29th, 2015

New technique speeds nanoMRI imaging: Multiplexing technique for nanoscale magnetic resonance imaging developed by researchers in Switzerland cuts normal scan time from two weeks to two days May 28th, 2015

Announcements

Stanford breakthrough heralds super-efficient light-based computers: Light can transmit more data while consuming far less power than electricity, and an engineering feat brings optical data transport closer to replacing wires May 29th, 2015

Donuts, math, and superdense teleportation of quantum information May 29th, 2015

OSU researchers prove magnetism can control heat, sound: Team leverages OSC services to help confirm, interpret experimental findings May 29th, 2015

Two UCSB Professors Receive Early Career Research Awards: The Department of Energy’s award for young scientists acknowledges UC Santa Barbara’s standing as a top tier research institution May 29th, 2015

Water

Nanosorbent Produced in Iran to Adsorb Tiny Amounts of Aromatic Hydrocarbon from Seawater May 18th, 2015

Iran Unveils New Home-Made Medicines, Nanotechnology Products May 14th, 2015

Plugging up leaky graphene: New technique may enable faster, more durable water filters May 7th, 2015

Production of Industrial Nano-Membrane for Water, Wastewater Purification Device in Iran May 2nd, 2015

NanoNews-Digest
The latest news from around the world, FREE




  Premium Products
NanoNews-Custom
Only the news you want to read!
 Learn More
NanoTech-Transfer
University Technology Transfer & Patents
 Learn More
NanoStrategies
Full-service, expert consulting
 Learn More










ASP
Nanotechnology Now Featured Books




NNN

The Hunger Project