The group around Yuichi TANIGUCHI at RIKEN has developed a method to observe individual E. coli cells. Using electron beam technology, a capsule-like pattern of dips 4 × 0.6 × 0.5 μm size was drawn on a photoresist coat on the surface of a silicon wafer, and this surface was cut with plasma. The silicon wafer with this recess being the first mold, the surface shape was transferred on a silicone rubber surface and from there to agarose, resulting in E. coli-size hollows on the agarose surface (E. coli capsule hotels”, 65,000 pieces per square millimeter). By flowing a liquid containing Escherichia coli onto this surface, the bacteria settled naturally into the hollows. Observation with a microscope showed that E. coli aligned well, and analysis of gene expression was possible. The team expects that high throughput analysis of bacteria can be achieved using this technology, including microbial physiology, biotechnology, multidrug resistance etc. “

RIKEN news release, December 21, 2017