Isolation chip

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The Isolation chip (or ichip) is a method of culturing bacteria. Using regular methods, 99% of bacterial species are not able to be cultured as they do not grow in conditions made in a laboratory, a problem called the "Great Plate Count Anomaly".[1] The ichip instead cultures bacterial species within its soil environment. The soil is diluted in molten agar and nutrients such that only a single cell, on average, grows in the ichip's small compartments or wells, hence the term "isolation". The chip is then enclosed in a semipermeable plastic membrane and buried back in the dirt to allow in nutrients not available in the lab.[2] With this culturing method, about 50 to 60 percent of bacterial species are able to survive.[2] Notably, the bacterial species Eleftheria terrae, which makes the antibiotic teixobactin that has shown promise against many drug-resistant strains like methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, was discovered using the ichip in 2015. In addition to antibiotics, it is argued that anti-cancer agents, anti-inflammatory and immunosuppressives (which have previously been discovered from bacteria) as well as potential energy sources could be discovered.[1] The ichip was developed by the drug discovery company NovoBiotic Pharmaceuticals, founded by Kim Lewis and Slava Epstein.[2]


  1. ^ a b "iChip: The future of antibiotic discovery". Retrieved 3 October 2015.
  2. ^ a b c "The age of infection". Retrieved 2 October 2015.