Transportation of Biogenic Magnetic Nanoparticles from a Prey Bacteria

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Using Atomic Force Microscopy (AFM), the predator-prey interactions between Bdellovibrio bacteriovorus 109J, a Gram-negative bacterium, and another Gram-negative bacteria Magnetotacticum magnetospirillum MS-1were measured. The main goal is to find a novel method of transporting magnetosomes, biogenic magnetic nanoparticles, found in the prey bacterium (MS-1) using a predator bacterium (109 J). Bdellovibrios have been known to attack other Gram-negative bacteria and the strain 109 J in particular has been found to prey on wide range of such bacteria like Escherichia, Pseudomonas, Rhizobium, Chromatium, and Spirillum to name just a few. Thus, this predator may be envisioned as a potential living cargo carrier. One critical challenge in this project is that the 109 J and MS-1 strains thrive in completely different environmental and nutritional conditions, as prepared in the laboratory in liquid cultures. We have circumvented this problem with a unique method to prepare the bacteria for imaging by AFM: micro-pore filters are utilized to support the two species at a hydrated air-solid interface. Direct evidence of magnetosome transportation has yet to be confirmed but if this system is successful, the experiment will provide further information on the nature of bacterial predation at interfaces and a significantly different way to isolate and move biogenic materials.


Eileen Spain




Howard Hughes Medical Institute Undergraduate Science Education Grant

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