The enzyme urease is widespread in nature and catalyzes the hydrolysis of urea to form ammonia and carbonic acid. The high proficiency of the enzyme is associated with a wide range of societal challenges. In agriculture, bacterial urease activity leads to loss of fertilizer through NH3 emission, which has a negative impact on the environment and human health. Urease is also an essential virulence factor for several pathogenic bacteria. To screen for potential urease inhibitors, efficient, sensitive, and accurate urease activity assays are needed. However, most urease activity assays are labor-intensive and become time-consuming when used to screen multiple samples. Based on systematic optimization, we have developed a urea-containing growth medium and method for continuous real-time monitoring and screening of urease activity from both bacterial cells and pure urease in a plate reader setup. The defined M9-based urea (M9U) medium was found to be more sensitive and suitable for a plate reader setup than both Christensen's urea broth (CUB) and Stuart's urea broth (SUB), which are established and well-known complex urea media that formed the principle foundation of M9U. Furthermore, we show that urease activity measurements using the M9U medium in our plate reader-based method allow reliable high-throughput screening of urease inhibitors.
- high throughput
- plate reader assay