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0 Q&A 8880 Views May 5, 2017
To advance the understanding of microbial interactions, it is becoming increasingly important to resolve the individual metabolic contributions of microorganisms in complex communities. Organisms from biofilms can be especially difficult to separate, image and analyze, and methods to address these limitations are needed. High resolution imaging secondary ion mass spectrometry (NanoSIMS) generates single cell isotopic composition measurements, and can be used to quantify incorporation and exchange of an isotopically labeled substrate among individual organisms. Here, incorporation of cyanobacterial extracellular organic matter (EOM) by members of a cyanobacterial mixed species biofilm is used as a model to illustrate this method. Incorporation of stable isotope labeled (15N and 13C) EOM by two groups, cyanobacteria and associated heterotrophic microbes, are quantified. Methods for generating, preparing, and analyzing samples for quantifying uptake of stable isotope-labeled EOM in the biofilm are described.

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