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J Vis Exp. 2013 Feb 23;(72):e50262. doi: 10.3791/50262.

Design and use of multiplexed chemostat arrays.

Author information

1
Department of Genome Sciences, University of Washington, WA, USA.

Abstract

Chemostats are continuous culture systems in which cells are grown in a tightly controlled, chemically constant environment where culture density is constrained by limiting specific nutrients.(1,2) Data from chemostats are highly reproducible for the measurement of quantitative phenotypes as they provide a constant growth rate and environment at steady state. For these reasons, chemostats have become useful tools for fine-scale characterization of physiology through analysis of gene expression(3-6) and other characteristics of cultures at steady-state equilibrium.(7) Long-term experiments in chemostats can highlight specific trajectories that microbial populations adopt during adaptive evolution in a controlled environment. In fact, chemostats have been used for experimental evolution since their invention.(8) A common result in evolution experiments is for each biological replicate to acquire a unique repertoire of mutations.(9-13) This diversity suggests that there is much left to be discovered by performing evolution experiments with far greater throughput. We present here the design and operation of a relatively simple, low cost array of miniature chemostats-or ministats-and validate their use in determination of physiology and in evolution experiments with yeast. This approach entails growth of tens of chemostats run off a single multiplexed peristaltic pump. The cultures are maintained at a 20 ml working volume, which is practical for a variety of applications. It is our hope that increasing throughput, decreasing expense, and providing detailed building and operation instructions may also motivate research and industrial application of this design as a general platform for functionally characterizing large numbers of strains, species, and growth parameters, as well as genetic or drug libraries.

PMID:
23462663
PMCID:
PMC3610398
DOI:
10.3791/50262
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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