US company Biolog this week received a patent for its Phenotype MicroArray technology. The patent, number US 6,472,201, is granted for comparative phenotypic analysis of two or more microorganisms using a number of substrates within a microwell device.
The company currently has over 20 patents on its cellular assay technologies. The PM technology has applications in multiple areas of research, ranging from basic research to high-throughput screening of chemical compounds against cells. Already working with a diverse list of microbial species, including microbes used in antibiotic drug discovery, the technology is now being extended to other cell lines.
This patent covers both methods and compositions for phenotypic analysis of eukaryotic as well as prokaryotic cells. Organisms already tested in the PM technology include gram-negative bacteria Escherichia coli, Salmonella typhimurium, Vibrio spp., Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Burkholderia cepacia, Ralstonia solanacearum, and Sinorhizobium meliloti.
Gram-positive bacteria include Staphylococcus aureus, Streptococcus spp., Bacillus spp., and Listeria monocytogenes. Yeast and filamentous fungi include Saccharomyces cerevisiae, Candida albicans and fungal pathogens such as Aspergillus spp.
Salmonella, Vibrio, and Listeria species can act as acute, invasive pathogens to humans. Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Burkholderia cepacia are common environmental bacteria that can cause persistent infections in humans, for example lung infections in cystic fibrosis patients, eye infections, bone infections, septicemias, as well as a leading cause of nosocomial infections.
According to the company, Phenotype MicroArrays represent a platform technology that allows scientists to easily test hundreds to thousands of cellular traits.