An acridine orange spore germination fluorescence microscopy versus spectral paradox

Journal of Fluorescence
J G Bruno


The metachromatic fluorophore acridine orange (AO) has demonstrated green fluorescent staining of dormant Bacillus spores and orange to red staining of transcriptionally active vegetative cells when used in the mid-micoMolar range. Despite the microscopic observation of numerous bright orange to red fluorescent vegetative cells following germination induction, no clear spectral emission peaks > 590 nm have ever been reported for spectrofluorometric analysis involving AO in conjunction with spore germination. This microscopy versus spectrofluorometry paradox is documented in the present report and hypotheses are put forth to explain the very weak spectral changes in the red region which do not appear to correlate with the abundant orange-red fluorescence of nascent vegetative cells seen through the fluorescence microscope.


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