Carlos Arellano-Caicedo,corresponding author1 Pelle Ohlsson,2 Martin Bengtsson,2 Jason P. Beech,3 and Edith C. Hammercorresponding author1


"1Department of Biology, Lund University, Lund, Sweden
2Department of Biomedical Engineering, Lund University, Lund, Sweden
3Division of Solid State Physics, Lund University, Lund, Sweden
Carlos Arellano-Caicedo, Email: [email protected]
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"Microhabitat conditions determine the magnitude and speed of microbial processes but have been challenging to investigate. In this study we used microfluidic devices to determine the effect of the spatial distortion of a pore space on fungal and bacterial growth, interactions, and substrate degradation. The devices contained channels differing in bending angles and order. Sharper angles reduced fungal and bacterial biomass, especially when angles were repeated in the same direction. Substrate degradation was only decreased by sharper angles when fungi and bacteria were grown together. Investigation at the cellular scale suggests that this was caused by fungal habitat modification, since hyphae branched in sharp and repeated turns, blocking the dispersal of bacteria and the substrate. Our results demonstrate how the geometry of microstructures can influence microbial activity. This can be transferable to soil pore spaces, where spatial occlusion and microbial feedback on microstructures is thought to explain organic matter stabilization.

DOI: 10.1038/s42003-021-02736-4


Epifluorescence microscopy was used for visualization of P. putida, C. Cinerea, and AMC using a fully motorized Nikon Ti2-E inverted microscope with PFS4 hardware autofocus, full 25 mm field-of-view, CoolLED pE300-White MB illumination connected via a 3 mm liquid light guide (LLG), and a Nikon Qi2 camera with 1x F-mount adapter.

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Commun. Biol.

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