Date of Graduation

Winter 2015

Document Type

Honors Research Project

Degree Name

Bachelor of Science



Research Sponsor

Dr. Michael Konopka

First Reader

Dr. Adam Smith

Second Reader

Dr. Aliaksei Boika


Intracytoplasmic membranes are structures that form within cells which help facilitate a variety of different metabolic processes. This feature of intracellular membranes makes them particularly valuable for studying compartmentalization and cell dynamics in bacteria. In the past, transmission electron microscopy has been the primary method for imaging bacteria with intracytoplasmic membranes. Because transmission electron microscopy takes images of a cell in fixed slices, it’s impossible to follow a cell’s growth and development over time. Fluorescence microscopy is a particularly effective method of measurement that can combat these issues when evaluating live bacterial cells. Here, standard biochemical laboratory procedures were used for the growth and development of two methanotrophs, Methylomicrobium alcaliphilum 20Z and Methylosinus trichosporium OB3b, and a photosynthetic purple non-sulfur bacterium, Rhodobacter sphaeroides 2.4.1. Fluorescence microscopy was used to monitor and evaluate these cells, and subsequently quantify the data obtained. The data obtained from this research project helped develop a rapid assessment method for intracellular membrane identification. It also helped clarify both how and why these intracellular membranes form.