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Author Notes:

Email Address: blevin@emory.edu

Conceived and designed the experiments: JCA BRL. Performed the experiments: JCA WNC BRL. Analyzed the data: JCA HNW BRL.

Contributed reagents/materials/analysis tools: JCA WNC BRL. Wrote the paper: JCA HNW BRL.

The funders had no role in the study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscripts.

Competing Interests:The Bioscreen TM plate reader was purchased with funds from a grant from Procter and Gamble. There are no patents, products in development or marketed products to declare.

Competing Interests:There are no patents, products in development or marketed products to declare. This does not alter the authors' adherence to all the PLOS ONE policies on sharing data and materials.

Research Funding:

This research was supported by a grant from the US National Institutes of General Medical Science, GM098175 (BRL) and from the Higher Education Commission Pakistan (WNC).

The Bioscreen TM plate reader was purchased with funds from a grant from Procter and Gamble.

Malthusian Parameters as Estimators of the Fitness of Microbes: A Cautionary Tale about the Low Side of High Throughput.

Journal Title:

PLoS ONE

Volume:

Volume 10, Number 6

Publisher:

, Pages e0126915-e0126915

Type of Work:

Article | Final Publisher PDF

Abstract:

The maximum exponential growth rate, the Malthusian parameter (MP), is commonly used as a measure of fitness in experimental studies of adaptive evolution and of the effects of antibiotic resistance and other genes on the fitness of planktonic microbes. Thanks to automated, multi-well optical density plate readers and computers, with little hands-on effort investigators can readily obtain hundreds of estimates of MPs in less than a day. Here we compare estimates of the relative fitness of antibiotic susceptible and resistant strains of E. coli, Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Staphylococcus aureus based on MP data obtained with automated multi-well plate readers with the results from pairwise competition experiments. This leads us to question the reliability of estimates of MP obtained with these high throughput devices and the utility of these estimates of the maximum growth rates to detect fitness differences.

Copyright information:

This is an open access article, free of all copyright.

This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Universal : Public Domain Dedication License ( http://creativecommons.org/publicdomain/zero/1.0/), which permits distribution of derivative works, distribution, public display, and publicly performance, making multiple copies, provided the original work is properly cited.

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