Near-Real-Time Analysis of the Phenotypic Responses of Escherichia coli to 1-Butanol Exposure Using Raman Spectroscopy
Raman spectroscopy was used to study the time course of phenotypic responses of Escherichia coli (DH5 alpha) to 1-butanol exposure (1.2% [vol/vol]). Raman spectroscopy is of interest for bacterial phenotyping because it can be performed (i) in near real time, (ii) with minimal sample preparation (label-free), and (iii) with minimal spectral interference from water. Traditional offline analytical methodologies were applied to both 1-butanol-treated and control cells to draw correlations with Raman data. Here, distinct sets of Raman bands are presented that characterize phenotypic traits of E. coli with maximized correlation to offline measurements. In addition, the observed time course phenotypic responses of E. coli to 1.2% (vol/vol) 1-butanol exposure included the following: (i) decreased saturated fatty acids levels, (ii) retention of unsaturated fatty acids and low levels of cyclopropane fatty acids, (iii) increased membrane fluidity following the initial response of increased rigidity, and (iv) no changes in total protein content or protein-derived amino acid composition. For most phenotypic traits, correlation coefficients between Raman spectroscopy and traditional off-line analytical approaches exceeded 0.75, and major trends were captured. The results suggest that near-real-time Raman spectroscopy is suitable for approximating metabolic and physiological phenotyping of bacterial cells subjected to toxic environmental conditions.