Impedimetric analysis on the mass transfer properties of intact and competent E. coli cells

Youngjoon Lim, Chun Hao Su, Ying Chih Liao, Sang Yup Lee

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2 Citations (Scopus)


Competent Escherichia coli cells are commonly used in bacterial transformation owing to its high permeability for bioorganic macromolecules like plasmid DNA. However, the mass transfer property of competent E. coli cell has not fully investigated. In the present study, mass transfer coefficients of competent and intact E. coli cells in deionized water were evaluated by impedimetric analysis of the release of cytoplasmic compounds. Because competent cells have a higher permeability after chemical treatment, the lumped mass transfer coefficient of a competent cell was approximately 6.5 times larger than that of an intact cell at room temperature. Release of cytoplasmic components was accelerated at an elevated temperature of 42 °C, which is the heat shock temperature used during bacterial transformation. At this elevated temperature, assessed lumped mass transfer coefficients of intact and competent E. coli cells were 9.28 × 10−4 min−1 and 97.10 × 10−4 min−1, respectively. Significant increase in the mass transfer coefficient of the competent cell is caused by cytolysis of cells. The double layer capacitances were also assessed from the electrochemical spectra confirming the enhanced ion release from E. coli cells and rupture of the competent cell under prolonged exposure at the elevated temperature. Impedimetric detection of the ion release with analyses using an equivalent circuit model provides a method to evaluate mass transfer properties of biomolecules.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)9-16
Number of pages8
JournalBiochimica et Biophysica Acta - Biomembranes
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2019 Jan

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by the Korean Research Foundation Grant funded by the Korean government ( MOEHRD ) ( NRF-2014K2A1B8046967 ) and by the Human Resources Program in Energy Technology of the Korea Institute of Energy Technology Evaluation and Planning (KETEP), granted financial resource from the Ministry of Trade, Industry & Energy, Republic of Korea (No. 20154010200810 ).

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biophysics
  • Biochemistry
  • Cell Biology

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