Berkeley Lab

Rapid Detection of Microbial Cell Abundance in Aquatic Systems

Overview of approach. To provide proof of principle, capacitance measurements from laboratory-sourced batch culture and environmentally-sourced samples were obtained using silicon wafer-based capacitive sensor

ENIGMA post doctoral fellow developed the application of ACEK-enhanced capacitive sensing technology as a rapid screening tool for the detection and quantification of microbial abundance in aquatic environments, such as groundwater wells at our Oak Ridge field site. As a proof of principle, she applied the tool to samples from ORNL and the Great Australian Bight.

New Science & Significance

  • Results demonstrate that ACEK capacitance-based sensing can detect and determine microbial cell counts throughout cellular concentrations typically encountered in naturally occurring microbial communities (103-106 cells/mL).
  • This work provides a foundation for understanding the limits of capacitance-based sensing in natural environmental samples and supports future efforts focusing on evaluating the robustness ACEK capacitance-based within aquatic environments.

Rapid Detection of Microbial Cell Abundance in Aquatic Systems. Rocha, A.M., Q. Yuan, D. Close, K. B. O’Dell, J. L. Fortney, J. Wu, and T.C. Hazen. (2016)

Biosensors and Bioelectronics Volume 85, 15 November 2016, Pages 915–923. [doi]10.1016/j.bios.2016.05.098