In this page, you can find a complete blueprint and user's guide for the mother machine, a simple microfluidic continuous culture device developed in our lab. Already in the 1950s, the Copenhagen School of Bacterial Growth Physiology rigorously and quantitatively demonstrated the importance of the balanced-growth conditions in, among others, obtaining reproducible results. There is now a renewed interest in growth, especially by researchers coming from quantitative sciences, and our hope is that researchers in the field use the mother machine or other devices that ensure steady-state growth conditions in their experiments.
There are several advantages for using devices like the mother machine. (1) balanced-growth conditions are ensured (2) one can change/control the buffer conditions (3) high-throughput (we typically collect tens of millions of data points) (4) single-cell level observations (5) long-term observations (hundreds of generations) (6) compatible with your favorite optics/microscopy.
Another reason for publishing the guide on the web is that we have seen many students and post-docs reinventing the wheels, especially when they just start to learn new things, because important details are not included in the literature. Have fun!
We have invented our second-generation mother machines: multiplex mother machine (with sixteen main trenches) and duplex mother machine (with two main trenches). This allows us to run multiple mother machine experiments together.AutoCAD (.dwg format) version
Cell-size control and homeostasis in bacteria
S. Taheri-Araghi, S. Bradde, J. T. Sauls, N. S. Hill, P. A. Levin, J. Paulsson, M. Vergassola, and S. Jun
Current Biology 25(3), 385–391, 2015
[online] [PDF+extended SI] [Google Scholar] [news coverage]
Cell-size maintenance: universal strategy revealed
S. Jun & S. Taheri-Araghi
Trends in Microbiology 23(1), 4–6, 2015
[online] [PDF] [Google Scholar]