Geomicrobiology Lab


The Geomicorobiology culturing lab is a central resource for the Geobiology community at CU Boulder and beyond that is jointly directed by Profs. Sebastian Kopf and Boswell Wing. The lab occupies ~2000 sq. ft. of newly renovated laboratory space in the Benson Earth Sciences building and was specifically designed for culturing of environmentally relevant microorganisms, continuous culture, sample preparation, microscopy, microbial substrate & product quantification, and molecular work.

The available equipment comprises standard geochemical and culturing infrastructure including analytical balances, pH meters, a chemical fume hood (8’), laminar flow biosafety cabinet (4’), refrigerators (4C), freezers (-20C), two ultra low temperature (ULT) freezers, temperature controlled shaking incubators, drying oven, muffle furnace, freeze-drier, water purification system, water baths, ultrasonic baths, refrigerated centrifuge, microcentrifuges and a 120L autoclave; molecular equipment including gel imager, electrophoresis equipment, gradient PCR machine, and quantitative realtime PCR (qPCR); and microscopy equipment including a phase contrast light microscope (Zeiss PrimoStar) and inverted fluorescence microscope (Zeiss AxioVert 200M).

Specialized culturing equipment includes a liquid-handling robot (TECAN Evo 150) with dedicated gas-controlled shaking incubators and plate reader for automated, high-throughput batch culturing of microbial cultures; continuous culture equipment including 6 prototyping bioreactor systems for aerobic and anaerobic continuous culture (operating volumes from 0.5 to 3L; active temperature, aeration, mixing and pH control; continuous monitoring of gas flow and backpressure via digital mass flow controllers; continuous monitoring of pH, ORP, pO2 via steam-sterilizable Mettler Toledo InPro process sensors); a custom-made multiplexed ministat continuous culture system with built-in continuous optical density readers and up to 20 parallel cultures and culture conditions; two 8-port gas supply manifolds and 6 gas blending manifolds with digital mass flow controller-based custom blending of up to 4 gases; and two anoxic chambers with gas purification and atmosphere control systems for sample manipulation and culturing under anoxic conditions (mBraun Labstar Pro).

The available analytical equipment includes two spectrophotometers (Thermo Spectronic20) and spectral analyzer (OceanOptics) for routine spectrometric analyses; a Coulter Counter (Beckam Coulter Multisizer 4e) for cell enumeration; an Ion Chromatography system with dual channel gradient pumps and fraction collector (Thermo ICS 6000) for routine quantification and purification of major ions, substrates and metabolites; a gas chromatography system (SRI GC FID/TDC) for routein quantification of headspace gases; a Cavity Ring-Down Spectroscopy (CRDS) system for continuous quantification and carbon isotope analysis of methane and carbon dioxide (Picarro G2201-I Isotopic Analyzer); and a Multi-Mode absorbance/fluorescence/luminescence plate reader (Biotek Synergy H1) for high-throughput spectral measurements.