Capturing Air–Water Interface Biofilms for Microscopy and Molecular Analysis

  • Margaret C. HenkEmail author
Part of the Methods in Molecular Biology book series (MIMB, volume 1147)


Described here is a simple and versatile technique for capturing small samples of the thin biofilm that is located at the meniscus of almost every air–water interface (AWI), an electrostatically distinct aquatic domain/habitat. The method uses a microscope slide (and other supporting surfaces) coated in the lab with a collodion membrane, which has a strong affinity for the upper surface of the AWI biofilm. The structural integrity of the biofilm is maintained during the capture process, and components of the biofilm are effectively separated from the subtending liquid. The captured thin biofilm can be analyzed in many ways including almost any form of light, electron, and atomic force optics; and spatially significant molecular analyses may be performed on the captured biofilm or its components.

Key words

Air–water interface Biofilm Microscopy Microbiology Ecomicrobiology 



This work was supported by the Department of Biological Sciences at Louisiana State University. Thanks to many students, starting with Bret Territo.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Biological SciencesLousiana State UniversityBaton RougeUSA

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