Mixing it up with E. coli

January 15, 2007

Poetry in motion may seem like an odd way to describe swimming bacteria, but that's what researchers at Drexel University got when they enlisted Escherichia coli (E. coli) in an effort to tackle a major problem in developing lab-on-a-chip technology.

In a report scheduled for the Feb. 1 issue of ACS' Analytical Chemistry, a semi-monthly journal, Min Jun Kim and Kenneth S. Breuer describe using E. coli to stir and enhance mixing in a controlled fashion in a microchannel. Blood and other medical samples may flow through such channels for analysis in future miniature laboratories etched on silicon chips.

The researchers note, however, that getting those fluids to mix with chemicals in clinical tests and flow poses huge challenges because of difficulties in fabricating tiny pumps.

Researchers thus are exploring biological motors, such as the spinning flagella that E. coli and other bacteria use to swim through fluids. In their experiments, Kim and Breuer harnessed the motion of E. coli flagella to achieve mixing in a fluid. The random motion of the micron-sized bacteria was used to enhance fluid mixing, and by adding chemical stimulants, the researchers were able to control both the direction and the magnitude of the stirring.

Source: American Chemical Society

Explore further: Protein synthesis machinery from bacterial consortia in one shot

Related Stories

How robots could solve the antibiotics production crisis

November 14, 2017

A WHO report in February listed a worrying number of pathogens that threaten our health because there are fewer and fewer drugs that can treat the infections they cause. Indeed, since their 1960s heyday, the production of ...

EU bans Egypt seed imports after E. coli outbreak

July 5, 2011

(AP) -- Egyptian sprout seeds blamed for a massive and deadly E. coli outbreak are still on the market and were shipped to more European countries than was previously believed, officials said Tuesday, as the EU announced ...

Recommended for you

World's smallest tape recorder is built from microbes

November 23, 2017

Through a few clever molecular hacks, researchers at Columbia University Medical Center have converted a natural bacterial immune system into a microscopic data recorder, laying the groundwork for a new class of technologies ...

The world needs to rethink the value of water

November 23, 2017

Research led by Oxford University highlights the accelerating pressure on measuring, monitoring and managing water locally and globally. A new four-part framework is proposed to value water for sustainable development to ...

'Lost' 99% of ocean microplastics to be identified with dye?

November 23, 2017

The smallest microplastics in our oceans – which go largely undetected and are potentially harmful – could be more effectively identified using an innovative and inexpensive new method, developed by researchers at the ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.