Combining Raman and FT-IR spectroscopy with quantitative isotopic labelling for differentiation of E. coli cells at community and single cell levels

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There is no doubt that the contribution of microbially mediated bioprocesses toward maintenance of life on earth is vital. However, understanding these microbes in situ is currently a bottleneck, as most methods require culturing these microorganisms to suitable biomass levels so that their phenotype can be measured. The development of new culture-independent strategies such as stable isotope probing (SIP) coupled with molecular biology has been a breakthrough toward linking gene to function, while circumventing in vitro culturing. In this study, for the first time we have combined Raman spectroscopy and Fourier transform infrared (FT-IR) spectroscopy, as metabolic fingerprinting approaches, with SIP to demonstrate the quantitative labeling and differentiation of Escherichia coli cells. E. coli cells were grown in minimal medium with fixed final concentrations of carbon and nitrogen supply, but with different ratios and combinations of 13C/12C glucose and 15N/14N ammonium chloride, as the sole carbon and nitrogen sources, respectively. The cells were collected at stationary phase and examined by Raman and FT-IR spectroscopies. The multivariate analysis investigation of FT-IR and Raman data illustrated unique clustering patterns resulting from specific spectral shifts upon the incorporation of different isotopes, which were directly correlated with the ratio of the isotopically labeled content of the medium. Multivariate analysis results of single-cell Raman spectra followed the same trend, exhibiting a separation between E. coli cells labeled with different isotopes and multiple isotope levels of C and N.

Bibliographical metadata

Original languageEnglish
JournalAnalytical Chemistry
StatePublished - 2015