Flavobacteria colonise and move over environmental surfaces where competitive interactions with other microorganisms are inevitable.

Flavobacterium IR1 is a gliding bacterium with a high degree of colonial organisation; the cells create a 2D photonic crystal, resulting in vivid structural colouration.

IR1 is a predator, it moves over surfaces and consumes other bacteria. There is a link with a 2D photonic crystal, this colony structure seems necessary for predation – but we don’t know why.  This project creates mutants in IR1 which are altered in predation to try to explain this question.

"At the end of your research, you realise that you've only just started. " - Janko and Roy, students working on this project

Create mutants in IR1 using the HiMar transposon mutagenesis system that knocks out genes at random.

Screen these mutant libraries for mutants altered in predation using the GFP expressing strain of Enterobacter cloacae as a prey bacterium.

Characterise mutants and sequence the genomes to find which genes are involved.

It is possible to identify mutants affected in predation. From sequencing these mutants it will be possible to identify the genes involved. Some Mutants are more predatory than the Wild Type (WT) which might be more useful as a biological control agent.