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New palm-sized microarray technique grows 1,200 individual cultures of microbes

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Posted June 25, 2013

A new palm-sized microarray that holds 1,200 individual cultures of fungi or bacteria could enable faster, more efficient drug discovery, according to a study published inmBio, the online open-access journal of the American Society for Microbiology.

Scientists at the University of Texas at San Antonio and the U.S. Army Institute of Surgical Research at Fort Sam Houston have developed a microarray platform for culturing fungal biofilms, and validated one potential application of the technology to identify new drugs effective against Candida albicans biofilms. The nano-scale platform technology could one day be used for rapid drug discovery for treatment of any number of fungal or bacterial infections, according to the authors, or even as a rapid clinical test to identify antibiotic drugs that will be effective against a particular infection.

“Even though we have used the antifungal concept for development, it is a universal tool,” says co-author Jose Lopez-Ribot of the University of Texas at San Antonio. “It opens a lot of possibilities as a new platform for microbial culture. Any time you need large numbers of cultures, this has a big advantage over other methods.”

“The possibility exists to use this same technology for pretty much any other organism,” he says.

Microbiology and medicine have become increasingly reliant on micro- and nano-scale technologies because of the increased speed and efficiency they can offer, but until now the cultivation of microorganisms has mostly been conducted on larger scales, in flasks and in trays called micro-titer plates. The microarray technology enables the user to rapidly compare hundreds or thousands of individual cultures of bacteria or fungi, a big benefit in the search for new drugs to treat infections. And like many nano-scale techniques, the nano-culture approach described in the mBio®study is also automated, a feature that saves time, improves reproducibility, and prevents some types of user error.

Read more at: Phys.org

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