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Issue 6, 2016
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Trapping and viability of swimming bacteria in an optoelectric trap

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Non-contact manipulation methods capable of trapping and transporting swimming bacteria can significantly aid in chemotaxis studies. However, high swimming speed makes the trapping of these organisms an inherently challenging task. We demonstrate that an optoelectric technique, rapid electrokinetic patterning (REP), can effectively trap and manipulate Enterobacter aerogenes bacteria swimming at velocities greater than 20 μm s−1. REP uses electro-orientation, laser-induced AC electrothermal flow, and particle–electrode interactions for capturing these cells. In contrast to trapping non-swimming bacteria and inert microspheres, we observe that electro-orientation is critical to the trapping of the swimming cells, since unaligned bacteria can swim faster than the radially inward electrothermal flow and escape the trap. By assessing the cell membrane integrity, we study the effect of REP trapping conditions, including optical radiation, laser-induced heating, and the electric field on cell viability. When applied individually, the optical radiation and laser-induced heating have negligible effect on cells. At the standard REP trapping conditions fewer than 2% of cells have a compromised membrane after four minutes. To our knowledge this is the first study detailing the effect of REP trapping on cell viability. The presented results provide a clear guideline on selecting suitable REP parameters for trapping living bacteria.

Graphical abstract: Trapping and viability of swimming bacteria in an optoelectric trap

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Publication details

The article was received on 22 Dec 2015, accepted on 09 Feb 2016 and first published on 11 Feb 2016

Article type: Paper
DOI: 10.1039/C5LC01559F
Citation: Lab Chip, 2016,16, 1039-1046
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    Trapping and viability of swimming bacteria in an optoelectric trap

    A. Mishra, T. R. Maltais, T. M. Walter, A. Wei, S. J. Williams and S. T. Wereley, Lab Chip, 2016, 16, 1039
    DOI: 10.1039/C5LC01559F

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