The inherent architectural and chemical complexities of microbial biofilms mask our understanding of how these communities form, survive, propagate, and influence their surrounding environment. Here we describe a simple and versatile workflow for the cultivation and characterization of model flow-cell-based microbial ecosystems. A customized low-shear drip flow reactor was designed and employed to cultivate single and coculture flow-cell biofilms at the air-liquid interface of several metal surfaces. Pseudomonas putida F1 and Shewanella oneidensis MR-1 were selected as model organisms for this study. The utility and versatility of this platform was demonstrated via the application of several chemical and morphological imaging techniques - including matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization mass spectrometry imaging, secondary ion mass spectrometry imaging, and scanning electron microscopy - and through the examination of model systems grown on iron substrates of varying compositions. Implementation of these techniques in combination with tandem mass spectrometry and a two-step imaging principal component analysis strategy resulted in the identification and characterization of 23 lipids and 3 oligosaccharides in P. putida F1 biofilms, the discovery of interaction-specific analytes, and the observation of several variations in cell and substrate morphology present during microbially influenced corrosion. The presented workflow is well-suited for examination of both single and multispecies drip flow biofilms and offers a platform for fundamental inquiries into biofilm formation, microbe-microbe interactions, and microbially influenced corrosion.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Analytical Chemistry