Quantification of outer membrane vesicles: a potential tool to compare response in Pseudomonas putida KT2440 to stress caused by alkanols

  • Christian Eberlein
  • Stephan Starke
  • Álvaro Escobar Doncel
  • Francesco Scarabotti
  • Hermann J. HeipieperEmail author
Applied microbial and cell physiology


The bacterial release of outer membrane vesicles (OMVs) is an important physiological mechanism of Gram-negative bacteria playing numerous key roles. One function of the release of OMVs is related to an increase in surface hydrophobicity. This phenomenon initiates biofilm formation, making bacteria more tolerant to environmental stressors. Recently, it was qualitatively shown for Pseudomonas putida that vesicle formation plays a crucial role in multiple stress responses. Yet, no quantification of OMVs for certain stress scenarios has been conducted. In this study, it is shown that the quantification of OMVs can serve as a simple and feasible tool, which allows a comparison of vesicle yields for different experimental setups, cell densities, and environmental stressors. Moreover, the obtained results provide insight to the underlying mechanism of vesicle formation as it was observed that n-alkanols, with a chain length of C7 and longer, caused a distinct and steep increase in vesiculation (12–19-fold), compared to shorter chain n-alkanols (2–4-fold increase).


Gram-negative bacteria Benchmark test for stress response Biofilm formation Outer membrane vesicles n-alkanols 


Funding information

The financial support by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation program under grant agreement no. 633962 for the project P4SB are greatly appreciated.

Compliance with ethical standards

Ethical statement

This article does not contain any studies with human or animals performed by any of the authors.

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Supplementary material

253_2019_9812_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (96 kb)
ESM 1 (PDF 95 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Environmental BiotechnologyHelmholtz Centre for Environmental Research - UFZLeipzigGermany

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