Single-cell Raman microspectroscopy has the potential to report on the whole-cell chemical composition of bacteria, reflecting metabolic status as well as growth history. This potential has been demonstrated through the discriminant functional analysis of Raman spectral profiles (RSP) obtained from the soil and plant-associated bacterium Pseudomonas fluorescens SBW25, grown in vitro using defined media, and in planta using 3-month-old sugar beets (Beta vulgaris var. Roberta). SBW25 in vitro RSP data showed significant variation between those cells grown on different amino acids, sugars, TCA cycle intermediates, rich King's B, and culture media derived from the sugar beet phytosphere. Raman analysis was also able to follow the transition of SBW25 starved of carbon over a period of days, and SBW25 in planta RSP data also showed variation with significant differences between bacteria recovered from soil and the rhizosphere. SBW25 whole-cell chemical composition, and therefore growth and metabolic history, could be interpreted by coanalyzing in vitro and in planta RSP data. SBW25 recovered from the phytosphere was found to be more similar to SBW25 grown in vitro on Fru or Asp, rather than on Glc or Arg, and quite dissimilar to that resulting from carbon starvation. This suggests that SBW25 growth in the phytosphere is generally neither carbon-catabolite-repressed nor carbon-limited. These findings demonstrate that the analysis of single-cell RSP can differentiate between isogenic populations of bacteria with different metabolic histories or after recovery from different parts of their natural environment. In addition, Raman analysis is also capable of providing biologically relevant biochemical inferences, which might then be tested to uncover the mechanistic basis (biochemical–metabolic–genetic) differentiating bacteria growing in complex environments and exposed to different conditions.
Huang, W. E., Bailey, M. J., Thompson, I. P., Whiteley, A. S., & Spiers, A. J. (2007). Single-Cell Raman spectral profiles of Pseudomonas fluorescens SBW25 reflects in vitro and in planta metabolic history. Microbial Ecology, 53(3), 414-425. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00248-006-9138-5