The possibility of designing bacterial communities

The possibility of designing bacterial communities

Dhaka December 11, 2013. In an article entitled, ‘3D printing of microscopic bacterial communities’ published in November 12, 2013 issue of PNAS (vol. 110. no. 46; 18380-18385), the lead author Jodi L. Connell with three other associates from the Institute of Cell and Molecular Biology, The University of Texas at Austin, USA report that they have developed a 3D microscopic printing technique to study inner mechanisms of mixed bacterial species interaction and its influence on human health. Bacteria in the human body often boom within structured, 3D communities that contain multiple bacterial species. In recent studies, researchers have found that relationships between structure and function of these microbial ecosystems can affect human health such as the virulence of infections in chronic wounds and in the lungs of patients with cystic fibrosis. The authors have developed a gelatin-based technique that uses 3D microscopic printing to organize populations of mixed bacterial species into virtually any structural arrangement which will surely assist to have a deeper look on the structure and functions in the bacterial ecosystems. The technique, adapted from laser lithography, traps selected bacteria in sealed cavities of a highly porous gelatin that allows the enclosed cells to both grow rapidly and communicate with other species growing in separate, nearby enclosures. The authors also demonstrate how the 3D relationship between two bacterial species can allow the antibiotic resistance of one pathogen to enhance the resistance of another. The outcome of the research will help clarify how adjacent microbes in bacterial aggregates communicate, integrate, and interact.

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