2018-024 – Microwell Array Platform for High-throughput Screening and Discovery of Microbial Interactions

Microbe-microbe interactions influence microbial community dynamics, composition, and impact the host. In agriculture, research has shown that microorganisms can efficiently colonize the root of a plant and modulate root system architecture, thereby affecting plant growth. Researchers at Kansas State have developed a high-throughput screening approach for identifying pairs or higher-order networks of bacterial species that can potentially be used as soil amendments or as probiotic candidates. The screening platform uses a microwell array to create thousands of unique combinations between a fluorescently labeled focal species and different bacterial isolates from an environmental microbiome. Cells are trapped and cultured within their respective wells and monitored with fluorescent microscopy. Wells showing desired behavior are extracted and the antagonizing or promoting species are sequenced for identification. Screens can be used to identify bacteria that antagonize or promote the growth of plant pathogens or plant growth promoting bacteria. Caronda Moore caronda@ksu.edu 785-532-1366

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