Toward absolute viability measurements for bacteria
We aim to develop a quantitative viability method that distinguishes individual quiescent from dead cells and is measured in time (ns) as a referenceable, comparable quantity. We demonstrate that fluorescence lifetime imaging of an anionic, fluorescent membrane voltage probe fulfills these requirements for Streptococcus mutans. A random forest machine-learning model assesses whether individual S. mutans can be correctly classified into their original populations: stationary phase (quiescent), heat killed and inactivated via chemical fixation. We compare the results to intensity using three models: lifetime variables (τ1, τ2 and p1), phasor variables (G, S) or all five variables, with the five variable models having the most accurate classification. This initial work affirms the potential for using fluorescence lifetime of a membrane voltage probe as a viability marker for quiescent bacteria, and future efforts on other bacterial species and fluorophores will help refine this approach.
Journal of Biophotonics
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)
Dunkers JP, Iyer H, Jones B, Camp CH, Stranick SJ, Lin NJ. Toward absolute viability measurements for bacteria. Journal of biophotonics. 2021;14(12). doi:10.1002/jbio.202100175