Montana State University & Center for Biofilm Engineering,
Keywords: Optical Microscopy, Instrumentation, Human Systems, Environmental Systems, Biofilm
Summary:In the past, imaging biofilms has relied heavily on confocal scanning laser microscopy (CSLM) because of its ability to provide 3D information of hydrated biofilms non-invasively and in real-time as pioneered by CBE researchers. While epifluorescence widefield OM approaches are better suited than CSLM for high efficiency real-time imaging (i.e., imaging larger sample volumes), these techniques have not been routinely applied to biofilms due to the high background signal. Our DOD-funded projects are reliant on high throughput real-time imaging. The new widefield microscope will be optimally configured to allow real-time, high-sensitivity imaging of complex and intact biological samples, and thus, ideally suited for biofilm systems. The instrument will be used to image biofilms and bio-systems grown from 3D printed communities, cultures engineered for robust carbon processing, tracking viral populations during HTP evolution, interactions between Staphylococcus aureus biofilm and human neutrophils, and microbe-mineral interactions. We acknowledge, that the continued advancement of biofilm research will require fast, real-time live-cell imaging as well as interfacing with high throughput approaches such as microfluidics, both of which require state-of-the-art equipment.