Microbiology and Molecular Biology Laboratory

The Microbiology and Molecular Biology Lab of the Interface Geochemistry group seeks to conduct research focused on the biological side of microbe-mineral interfaces. In particular, one of these interfaces involves the microbiome associated with glaciers and ice sheet surfaces. This research is carried out using a variety of culture-dependent and -independent techniques via a number of specialized instruments which are listed below.

Location: A71 - 271 / 273

The Omics Lab is currently equipped with all facilities to carry out DNA extractions, polymerase chain reactions (PCR) and gel electrophoresis. Current research includes the biodiversity and functions of cryophilic microbiomes with the focus on snow and ice algal communities. The lab contains the following equipment:

  • Compact Benchtop Midi Concentrator - RVC 2-25 CDplus
  • 2 PCR Workstation - AirClean Systems AC600
  • Thermal PCR Cycler - Bio-Rad T100
  • DNA & RNA Extraction Kits - MoBio Laboratories
  • Easycast Gel Electrophoresis Chamber - Thermo Scientific
  • PowerPac Basic for Gel Electrophoresis - Bio-Rad
  • Qubit 2.0 Fluorometer - Invitrogen
  • MySpin6 Centrifuge - Thermo Scientific
  • MiniSpin Centrifuge - Eppendorf
  • Thermo-Shaker - Grant-Bio
  • CX100 Cryogenic Shipper - Taylor Wharton


Main equipment:

Low Temperature Chamber

Contact: Dr. Helen Feord

The environmental chamber (Percival LT-36VL) allows to perform incubation at set chosen environmental parameters, or following a program set by the user, with the possibility to mimic day-night or seasonal variations. Temperatures between -10 and 40°C are available, as well as fluctuation of light (visible, UV-A and UV-B independently) and CO2 levels. The chamber is used to reproduce supraglacial environments in the lab, and to perform stress experiments on microorganisms.

Real-time Thermal PCR Cycler - qTOWER3 G touch

Contact: Dr. Helen Feord

Our qTower3 G touch qPCR machine is a 96-well format and currently uses one SYBR Green module, however, can be equipped with up to six for multiplexing capabilities. One main function of this system will be to evaluate stress parameters on microbial communities collected from Arctic snow and ice samples.

Location: E355

The microbiology-related work of our section is done in this lab, as it has the capabilities for preparing a wide range of media and sterile solutions though filtration, autoclaving or UV exposure. Two refrigerators are dedicated for culturing cryophilic and cryotolerant microbial species under different light exposures. Moreover, a circulating water bath allows the culture of microorganisms up to 40 °C. The lab is also equipped with Bunsen burners, a PCR chamber and a Class II Biological Safety Cabinet to facilitate working in a sterile environment.

  • Bioclave 16 Autoclave - Benchmark Scientific
  • Centrifuge Universal 320 - Hettich
  • MiniSpin Centrifuge - Eppendorf
  • PCR workstation  - AirClean Systems AC600
  • Water bath MX11P100 - VWR
  • Ice maker CoolNat ZBE 30-10 - ZIEGRA


Main equipment:

Class II Biological Safety Cabinet

Contact: Dr. Helen Feord

This laminar flow cabinet (ENVAIR) ensures microbiological work under protection against class 1 and class 2 pathogens for the user. It also allows to manipulate samples and cultures in a sterile environment to avoid contamination.

Location: A71 - 275 / 277

Processes related to the solvents extraction of snow and ice algae or particles are conducted in the Organic Microbial Geochemistry Lab. These processes are done in combination with ultrasonic bath, shaking, and solid phase extraction. Evaporation of organic extracts using nitrogen or argon gas, as well as various intermediate steps such as milling, acidification and filtration are also carried out in this lab. The lab contains the following equipment:

  • Coolsafe 110-4 Pro Freeze Dryer - LaboGene
  • S 40 (H) Ultrasonic Bath - Elmasonic
  • Rotary Vacuum Concentrator - Martin Christ
  • MiniSpin plus Centrifuge - Eppendorf
  • L24/11 Muffle Oven - Nabertherm
  • Mixer Mill MM 400 - Retsch
  • VXR basic Vibrax Shaker - IKA
  • GCC-E Centrifuge - Globe Scientific

Location: A71 - 274

The TOC Room houses the Shimadzu Total Organic Carbon Analyzer (TOC-L-CPH) with ASI-L Autosampler, which is used for the analysis of total carbon, total organic carbon and inorganic carbon to study the carbon content of snow, ice and sediments from environmental samples as well as their biological and geochemical transformation processes. Prior to analysis, water samples are prepared under the SafeFAST Classic Class II Biological Safety Cabinet and stored acidified (pH 2) in a refrigerator.

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