Bacteriophage contamination of starter culture and raw material poses a major problem in the fermentation industry. In this study, a rapid detection of lytic phage contamination in starter culture using water-in-oil-in-water (W/O/W) emulsion microdroplets was described. A model bacteria with varying concentrations of lytic phages were encapsulated in W/O/W emulsion microdroplets using a simple needle-in-tube setup. The detection of lytic phage contamination was accomplished in 1 h using the propidium iodide labeling of the phage-infected bacteria inside the W/O/W emulsion microdroplets. Using this approach, a detection limit of 102 PFU/mL of phages was achieved quantitatively, while 104 PFU/mL of phages could be detected qualitatively based on visual comparison of the fluorescence images. Given the simplicity and sensitivity of this approach, it is anticipated that this method can be adapted to any strains of bacteria and lytic phages that are commonly used for fermentation, and has potential for a rapid detection of lytic phage contamination in the fermentation industry.
- Fluorescence microscopy
- Starter culture
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology