Editor: Eva Top
Non-invasive microelectrode ion flux measurements to study adaptive responses of microorganisms to the environment
Version of Record online: 3 APR 2006
FEMS Microbiology Reviews
Volume 30, Issue 3, pages 472–486, May 2006
How to Cite
Shabala, L., Ross, T., McMeekin, T. and Shabala, S. (2006), Non-invasive microelectrode ion flux measurements to study adaptive responses of microorganisms to the environment. FEMS Microbiology Reviews, 30: 472–486. doi: 10.1111/j.1574-6976.2006.00019.x
- Issue online: 3 APR 2006
- Version of Record online: 3 APR 2006
- Received 27 July 2005; revised 15 November 2005; accepted 20 January 2006.First published online April 2006.
- ion flux;
- microelectrode technique
The regulation of membrane-transport activity is crucial for intracellular pH homeostasis, maintenance of cell osmotic potential, nutrient acquisition, signalling, and adaptation of bacterial cells. The non-invasive microelectrode ion flux estimation (MIFE) technique is a powerful tool for kinetic studies of membrane-transport processes across cellular membranes. Since 2001, when this technique was first applied to the study of membrane-transport processes in bacterial cells (J Microbiol Methods46, 119–129), a large amount of information has been accumulated. This review summarizes some of these findings and discusses the advantages and applicability of this technique in studying bacterial adaptive responses to adverse environmental conditions. First, various methodological aspects of the application of this novel technique in microbiology are discussed. Then, several practical examples (‘case studies’) are described. The latter include changes in membrane-transport activity in response to various stresses (acidic, osmotic, and temperature stresses) as well as flux changes as a function of bacterial growth stage and nutrient availability. It is shown that non-invasive ion flux measurements may provide a significant conceptual advance in our understanding of adaptive responses in bacteria, fungi and biofilms to a variety of environmental conditions. The technique can also be used for the rapid assessment of food-processing treatments aimed at reducing bacterial contamination of food and for the development of strategies to assess the resistance of organisms to antimicrobial agents.