Related Researcher


Mitchell, Robert J.
Applied & Environmental Microbiology Lab (AEML)
Research Interests
  • Pathogens, bdellovibrio bacteriovorus, patho-biotechnology


포식 미생물 이용 바이오 필름 및 바이오 파울링 저감을 위한 친환경 기술

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포식 미생물 이용 바이오 필름 및 바이오 파울링 저감을 위한 친환경 기술
Other Titles
Biofilm and Biofouling Mitigation using Bacterial Predators
Mitchell, Robert J.
Issue Date
UNIST AIRC (Academy-Industry Research Corporation)
This study was undertaken to characterize the ability of predatory bacteria, B. bacteriovorus, to reduce biofilm populations and aid in water filtration processes by mitigating the biofouling of the membranes. We characterized the predator using various experiments and microfluidic devices, with an emphasis on assessing its chemotaxis towards different compounds, including quorum sensing molecules. Some of the more important findings include: ● Tests within soil slurries and aqueous environments found that the predatory nature of this bacterium is better when able to swim freely, i.e., within a fully aqueous setting. ● BALOs can be used to significantly mitigate recombinant DNA concentrations within soil and water environments ● BALOs, which are strict aerobes, can predate under anaerobic conditions with the addition of nitrate ● Predation reduces prey numbers on various surfaces (steel, membranes, epithelial cells) ● Biofilms can be patterned using aqueous two-phase system protocols ● Antibiotic-resistant biofilms confer resistance onto neighboring planktonic cells ● Predation reduces the number of viable bacteria dispersed, thereby reducing the chance for nosocomial infections and pathogen transport through aerosols ● Several microfluidic devices were fabricated to study predation, including a concentrator array ● The chemotactic nature of B. bacteriovorus HD 100 was assessed within a microfluidic device and found to be unattracted to quorum sensing molecules and prey but did show chemotaxis towards a non-prey microbe. This will be studied further. ● Biofouling experiments were performed with E. coli as the prey and fouling strain ● Preliminary data suggests that BALOs may not be effective at preventing biofouling but rather may contribute to irreversible fouling due to their small size In all, from the above results, we have published 8 papers (5 in Top 1% and 10% journals) and one patent and currently have several more papers being written. Furthermore, using ATPS techniques, we have demonstrated a method to stably confine bacteria within animal cell cultures. Using this novel protocol, we have expanded on the application of BALOs from inanimate surfaces to using them to reduce and prevent biofilms from forming within and on cultures of epithelial cells, particularly with pathogenic strains.
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