High-throughput Cultivation of Microorganisms Using Microcapsules

Methods Enzymol. 2005;397:124-30. doi: 10.1016/S0076-6879(05)97007-9.


This chapter describes a universal and novel method that provides access to the immense reservoir of untapped microbial diversity by cultivation. This technique uses microcapsules to encapsulate single cells combined with parallel microbial cultivation under low nutrient flux conditions. Under these conditions, single encapsulated cells grow and form microcolonies within the microcapsules. Flow cytometry is used as a sensitive tool to detect growth within the microcapsules. Microcapsules that contain microcolonies (originated from a single encapsulated cell) are sorted individually into microtiter dishes containing organic-rich medium. This high-throughput cultivation can provide more than 10,000 bacterial and fungal isolates per environmental sample.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Bacteria, Anaerobic / growth & development*
  • Bacteriological Techniques* / instrumentation
  • Capsules*
  • Flow Cytometry
  • Soil Microbiology


  • Capsules