Hunting down legionella with Infinite M200 plate reader

RESEARCHERS at the Ensminger Lab, part of the department of molecular genetics at the University of Toronto, Canada, are using Tecan’s Infinite M200 Pro plate reader and gas control module to study host-pathogen interactions for Legionella bacteria.

Alex Ensminger and team at U of Toronto

Alex Ensminger discussed the laboratory’s approach to studying this potentially deadly pathogen: “Legionella pneumophila normally grows inside amoebae and protozoa, and we need to understand how these pathogens interact with both their natural hosts and patients’ lungs.

“A key part of this research is to monitor bacterial growth under stable conditions, which is a very labour-intensive manual process”.

Ensminger soon identified an alternative: “I had seen recent publications describing the use of the Infinite M200 Pro to measure growth of Legionella, and as soon as I read that the gas control module (GCM) offered independent control of both O2 and CO2 levels within the measurement chamber, I was sold on buying one.

“I realised that I could put the bacteria in host cells, place them in the plate reader and leave them there for three or four days, watching their growth. By measuring every 20 minutes or so, we have seen growth curve shapes that disappear if readings are taken less frequently, even hourly.

“These shapes match what we might predict from cell biology, and allow more subtle distinctions between phenotypes than was previously possible.”

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