Aqueous Two-Phase System Technology for Patterning Bacterial Communities and Biofilms

  • Mohammed Dwidar
  • Shuichi Takayama
  • Robert J. MitchellEmail author
Part of the Methods in Molecular Biology book series (MIMB, volume 1147)


We describe a novel method which makes use of polymer-based aqueous two-phase systems to pattern bacterial communities inside Petri dishes. This method allows us to culture submillimeter-sized bacterial communities in spatially distinct spots while maintaining a degree of chemical connectedness to each other through the aqueous phase. Given sufficient time, these bacterial cultures develop biofilms, each corresponding to the footprint of the droplet spot. This method can be used to study the interactions between bacterial communities and biofilms spotted adjacent to each other. Furthermore, it can be extended to study the interactions between different bacterial communities and an underlying epithelial cell layer.

Key words

Aqueous two-phase system (ATPS) Biofilm Micro-patterning Localized culturing Bacterial–bacterial interaction Bacterial–epithelial interaction Cell printing 



We would like to thank Dr. Toshiyuki Yaguchi at Nagoya Institute of Technology, Japan, and Dr. Brendan M. Leung at the University of Michigan, USA, for their contributions in establishing the protocols discussed in this chapter.

This work was supported by a grant from the Creativity and Innovation Project funded by Ulsan National Institute of Science and Technology (UNIST) (Grant #1.120051.01) and by the World Class University (WCU) program (No. R322008000200540) through the National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF) as funded by the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology (MEST). The authors appreciate the support.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mohammed Dwidar
    • 1
  • Shuichi Takayama
    • 1
    • 2
  • Robert J. Mitchell
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.School of Nano-Bioscience and Chemical Engineering, Ulsan National Institute of Science and TechnologyUlsanRepublic of Korea
  2. 2.Department of Biomedical Engineering, Macromolecular Science & Engineering ProgramUniversity of MichiganAnn ArborUSA

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