Quantitative Determination of Anti-bacterial Activity During Bacterial Co-culture

Juliana Alcoforado Diniz, Birte Hollmann, Sarah J. Coulthurst (Lead / Corresponding author)

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Anti-bacterial activity assays are an important tool in the assessment of the ability of one bacterium to kill or inhibit the growth of another, for example during the study of the Type VI secretion system (T6SS) and the anti-bacterial toxins it secretes. The method we describe here can detect the ability of a bacterial strain to kill or inhibit other bacterial cells in a contact-dependent manner when co-cultured on an agar surface. It is particularly useful since it enumerates the recovery of viable target cells and thus enables quantification of the anti-bacterial activity. We provide a detailed description of how to measure the T6SS-dependent anti-bacterial activity of a bacterium such as Serratia marcescens against a competitor prokaryotic organism, Escherichia coli, and also describe possible variations in the method to allow adaptation to other attacker and target organisms.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationBacterial Protein Secretion Systems
Subtitle of host publicationMethods and Protocols
EditorsLaure Journet, Eric Cascales
Place of PublicationNew York
Number of pages8
ISBN (Electronic)9781493970339
ISBN (Print)9781493970315
Publication statusPublished - 2017

Publication series

NameMethods in Molecular Biology
ISSN (Print)1064-3745
ISSN (Electronic)1940-6029


  • Gram-negative bacteria
  • Protein secretion system
  • Type VI secretion system
  • Co-culture assay
  • Anti-bacterial activity
  • Bacterial competitive fitness
  • Toxin/immunity pair


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