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Bacterial Calligraphy: A Memento for Undergraduate Research Students

    Author: Wenfa Ng1
    VIEW AFFILIATIONS HIDE AFFILIATIONS
    Affiliations: 1: Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, National University of Singapore, Singapore 117576
    AUTHOR AND ARTICLE INFORMATION AUTHOR AND ARTICLE INFORMATION
    • Published 03 December 2012
    • Corresponding author. Mailing address: Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, National University of Singapore, 4 Engineering Drive 4, Singapore 117576. E-mail: ngwenfa@alumni.nus.edu.sg.
    • Copyright © 2012 American Society for Microbiology
    Source: J. Microbiol. Biol. Educ. December 2012 vol. 13 no. 2 172-174. doi:10.1128/jmbe.v13i2.414
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    Abstract:

    The research project is a major assignment for final-year undergraduate students. As part of the project’s learning outcomes, undergraduate students are exposed to research methodology, design, and execution of experiments, as well as to data interpretation and presentation. Given the intense nature of the research experience in time and in effort, and the close working relationships and camaraderie that develop, a memento would be fitting at the conclusion of the research project. This activity describes how to create such a memento by using a purple pigment-producing soil bacterium, Chromobacterium violaceum, as an “ink” to inscribe the initials of each student’s name on an agar plate in a process named “bacterial calligraphy.”

Key Concept Ranking

Chromobacterium violaceum
0.73953795
Pseudomonas aeruginosa
0.7156819
0.73953795

References & Citations

1. Balibar CJ, Walsh CT 2006 In vitro biosynthesis of violacein from L-Tryptophan by the enzymes VioA−E from Chromobacterium violaceum Biochemistry 45 15444 15457 10.1021/bi061998z 17176066 http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/bi061998z
2. Becker MH, Brucker RM, Schwantes CR, Harris RN, Minbiole KPC 2009 The bacterially produced metabolite violacein is associated with survival of amphibians infected with a lethal fungus Appl Environ Microbiol 75 6635 6638 10.1128/AEM.01294-09 19717627 2772424 http://dx.doi.org/10.1128/AEM.01294-09
3. Brazilian National Genome Project Consortium 2003 The complete genome sequence of Chromobacterium violaceum reveals remarkable and exploitable bacterial adaptability Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci 100 11660 11665 14500782
4. Hoshino T 2011 Violacein and related tryptophan metabolites produced by Chromobacterium violaceum: biosynthetic mechanism and pathway for construction of violacein core Appl. Microbiol. Biotechnol 91 1463 1475 10.1007/s00253-011-3468-z 21779844 http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00253-011-3468-z
5. Kearns DB, Losick R 2003 Swarming motility in undomesticated Bacillus subtilis Mol. Microbiol 49 581 590 10.1046/j.1365-2958.2003.03584.x 12864845 http://dx.doi.org/10.1046/j.1365-2958.2003.03584.x
6. Lopes SCP, Blanco YC, Justo GZ, Nogueira PA, Rodrigues FLS, Goelnitz U, Wunderlich G, Facchini G, Brocchi M, Duran N, Costa FTM 2009 Violacein extracted from Chromobacterium violaceum inhibits Plasmodium growth in vitro and in vivo Antimicrob. Agents Chemother 53 2149 2152 10.1128/AAC.00693-08 19273690 2681540 http://dx.doi.org/10.1128/AAC.00693-08
7. Tremblay J, Déziel E 2010 Gene expression in Pseudomonas aeruginosa swarming motility BMC Genomics 11 587 [Online.] http://www.biomedcentral.com/1471-2164/11/587 10.1186/1471-2164-11-587 20961425 http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/1471-2164-11-587
8. Zinger-Yosovich K, Sudakevitz D, Imberty A, Garber NC, Gilboa-Garber N 2006 Production and properties of the native Chromobacterium violaceum fucose-binding lectin (CV-IIL) compared to homologous lectins of Pseudomonas aeruginosa (PA-IIL) and Ralstonia solanacearum (RS-IIL) Microbiology 152 457 463 10.1099/mic.0.28500-0 16436433 http://dx.doi.org/10.1099/mic.0.28500-0
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/content/journal/jmbe/10.1128/jmbe.v13i2.414
2012-12-03
2017-09-23

Abstract:

The research project is a major assignment for final-year undergraduate students. As part of the project’s learning outcomes, undergraduate students are exposed to research methodology, design, and execution of experiments, as well as to data interpretation and presentation. Given the intense nature of the research experience in time and in effort, and the close working relationships and camaraderie that develop, a memento would be fitting at the conclusion of the research project. This activity describes how to create such a memento by using a purple pigment-producing soil bacterium, Chromobacterium violaceum, as an “ink” to inscribe the initials of each student’s name on an agar plate in a process named “bacterial calligraphy.”

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Figures

Image of FIGURE 1

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FIGURE 1

Well-defined round colonies of on LB Lennox agar after 24 hours of growth at 30°C. The purple violacein pigment remained associated with the colony and did not diffuse through the agar medium, making this bacterium useful for creating calligraphy or drawings on agar surfaces.

Source: J. Microbiol. Biol. Educ. December 2012 vol. 13 no. 2 172-174. doi:10.1128/jmbe.v13i2.414
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Image of FIGURE 2

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FIGURE 2

Individual agar plates inscribed with the initials of each student’s name using the method of “bacterial calligraphy.” Slight imperfections such as thick streak lines, imperfect coverage as well as extraneous colonies and lines highlighted the level of care needed to master the calligraphy technique that uses bacterial cells as “ink.”

Source: J. Microbiol. Biol. Educ. December 2012 vol. 13 no. 2 172-174. doi:10.1128/jmbe.v13i2.414
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