Mighty small: Observing and modeling individual microbes becomes big science

J.U. Kreft, C.M. Plugge, V. Grimm, C. Prats, J.H.J. Leveau, T. Banitz, S. Baines, J. Clark, A. Ros, I. Klapper, C.J. Topping, A.J. Field, A. Schuler, E. Litchman, F.L. Hellweger

Research output: Contribution to journalEditorialAcademicpeer-review

35 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Progress in microbiology has always been driven by technological advances, ever since Antonie van Leeuwenhoek discovered bacteria by making an improved compound microscope. However, until very recently we have not been able to identify microbes and record their mostly invisible activities, such as nutrient consumption or toxin production on the level of the single cell, not even in the laboratory. This is now changing with the rapid rise of exciting new technologies for single-cell microbiology (1, 2), which enable microbiologists to do what plant and animal ecologists have been doing for a long time: observe who does what, when, where, and next to whom. Single cells taken from the environment can be identified and even their genomes sequenced. Ex situ, their size, elemental, and biochemical composition, as well as other characteristics can be measured with high-throughput and cells sorted accordingly. Even better, individual microbes can be observed in situ with a range of novel microscopic and spectroscopic methods, enabling localization, identification, or functional characterization of cells in a natural sample, combined with detecting uptake of labeled compounds. Alternatively, they can be placed into fabricated microfluidic environments, where they can be positioned, exposed to stimuli, monitored, and their interactions controlled “in microfluido.” By introducing genetically engineered reporter cells into a fabricated landscape or a microcosm taken from nature, their reproductive success or activity can be followed, or their sensing of their local environment recorded.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)18027-18028
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Volume110
Issue number45
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2013

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microorganisms
cells
microbiology
ecologists
microscopes
toxins
chemical composition
uptake mechanisms
genome
bacteria
nutrients
animals
sampling
methodology

Cite this

Kreft, J.U. ; Plugge, C.M. ; Grimm, V. ; Prats, C. ; Leveau, J.H.J. ; Banitz, T. ; Baines, S. ; Clark, J. ; Ros, A. ; Klapper, I. ; Topping, C.J. ; Field, A.J. ; Schuler, A. ; Litchman, E. ; Hellweger, F.L. / Mighty small: Observing and modeling individual microbes becomes big science. In: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. 2013 ; Vol. 110, No. 45. pp. 18027-18028.
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abstract = "Progress in microbiology has always been driven by technological advances, ever since Antonie van Leeuwenhoek discovered bacteria by making an improved compound microscope. However, until very recently we have not been able to identify microbes and record their mostly invisible activities, such as nutrient consumption or toxin production on the level of the single cell, not even in the laboratory. This is now changing with the rapid rise of exciting new technologies for single-cell microbiology (1, 2), which enable microbiologists to do what plant and animal ecologists have been doing for a long time: observe who does what, when, where, and next to whom. Single cells taken from the environment can be identified and even their genomes sequenced. Ex situ, their size, elemental, and biochemical composition, as well as other characteristics can be measured with high-throughput and cells sorted accordingly. Even better, individual microbes can be observed in situ with a range of novel microscopic and spectroscopic methods, enabling localization, identification, or functional characterization of cells in a natural sample, combined with detecting uptake of labeled compounds. Alternatively, they can be placed into fabricated microfluidic environments, where they can be positioned, exposed to stimuli, monitored, and their interactions controlled “in microfluido.” By introducing genetically engineered reporter cells into a fabricated landscape or a microcosm taken from nature, their reproductive success or activity can be followed, or their sensing of their local environment recorded.",
author = "J.U. Kreft and C.M. Plugge and V. Grimm and C. Prats and J.H.J. Leveau and T. Banitz and S. Baines and J. Clark and A. Ros and I. Klapper and C.J. Topping and A.J. Field and A. Schuler and E. Litchman and F.L. Hellweger",
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Kreft, JU, Plugge, CM, Grimm, V, Prats, C, Leveau, JHJ, Banitz, T, Baines, S, Clark, J, Ros, A, Klapper, I, Topping, CJ, Field, AJ, Schuler, A, Litchman, E & Hellweger, FL 2013, 'Mighty small: Observing and modeling individual microbes becomes big science', Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, vol. 110, no. 45, pp. 18027-18028. https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1317472110

Mighty small: Observing and modeling individual microbes becomes big science. / Kreft, J.U.; Plugge, C.M.; Grimm, V.; Prats, C.; Leveau, J.H.J.; Banitz, T.; Baines, S.; Clark, J.; Ros, A.; Klapper, I.; Topping, C.J.; Field, A.J.; Schuler, A.; Litchman, E.; Hellweger, F.L.

In: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, Vol. 110, No. 45, 2013, p. 18027-18028.

Research output: Contribution to journalEditorialAcademicpeer-review

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T1 - Mighty small: Observing and modeling individual microbes becomes big science

AU - Kreft, J.U.

AU - Plugge, C.M.

AU - Grimm, V.

AU - Prats, C.

AU - Leveau, J.H.J.

AU - Banitz, T.

AU - Baines, S.

AU - Clark, J.

AU - Ros, A.

AU - Klapper, I.

AU - Topping, C.J.

AU - Field, A.J.

AU - Schuler, A.

AU - Litchman, E.

AU - Hellweger, F.L.

PY - 2013

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N2 - Progress in microbiology has always been driven by technological advances, ever since Antonie van Leeuwenhoek discovered bacteria by making an improved compound microscope. However, until very recently we have not been able to identify microbes and record their mostly invisible activities, such as nutrient consumption or toxin production on the level of the single cell, not even in the laboratory. This is now changing with the rapid rise of exciting new technologies for single-cell microbiology (1, 2), which enable microbiologists to do what plant and animal ecologists have been doing for a long time: observe who does what, when, where, and next to whom. Single cells taken from the environment can be identified and even their genomes sequenced. Ex situ, their size, elemental, and biochemical composition, as well as other characteristics can be measured with high-throughput and cells sorted accordingly. Even better, individual microbes can be observed in situ with a range of novel microscopic and spectroscopic methods, enabling localization, identification, or functional characterization of cells in a natural sample, combined with detecting uptake of labeled compounds. Alternatively, they can be placed into fabricated microfluidic environments, where they can be positioned, exposed to stimuli, monitored, and their interactions controlled “in microfluido.” By introducing genetically engineered reporter cells into a fabricated landscape or a microcosm taken from nature, their reproductive success or activity can be followed, or their sensing of their local environment recorded.

AB - Progress in microbiology has always been driven by technological advances, ever since Antonie van Leeuwenhoek discovered bacteria by making an improved compound microscope. However, until very recently we have not been able to identify microbes and record their mostly invisible activities, such as nutrient consumption or toxin production on the level of the single cell, not even in the laboratory. This is now changing with the rapid rise of exciting new technologies for single-cell microbiology (1, 2), which enable microbiologists to do what plant and animal ecologists have been doing for a long time: observe who does what, when, where, and next to whom. Single cells taken from the environment can be identified and even their genomes sequenced. Ex situ, their size, elemental, and biochemical composition, as well as other characteristics can be measured with high-throughput and cells sorted accordingly. Even better, individual microbes can be observed in situ with a range of novel microscopic and spectroscopic methods, enabling localization, identification, or functional characterization of cells in a natural sample, combined with detecting uptake of labeled compounds. Alternatively, they can be placed into fabricated microfluidic environments, where they can be positioned, exposed to stimuli, monitored, and their interactions controlled “in microfluido.” By introducing genetically engineered reporter cells into a fabricated landscape or a microcosm taken from nature, their reproductive success or activity can be followed, or their sensing of their local environment recorded.

U2 - 10.1073/pnas.1317472110

DO - 10.1073/pnas.1317472110

M3 - Editorial

VL - 110

SP - 18027

EP - 18028

JO - Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America

JF - Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America

SN - 0027-8424

IS - 45

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