PMID: 11000436Sep 23, 2000

Analysis of bacterial function by multi-colour fluorescence flow cytometry and single cell sorting

Journal of Microbiological Methods
G Nebe-Von-CaronR A Badley


With the increased awareness of the problems associated with the growth dependent analysis of bacterial populations, direct optical detection methods such as flow cytometry have enjoyed increased popularity over the last few years. Among the analyses discussed here are: (1) Bacterial discrimination from other particles on the basis of nucleic acid staining, using sample disaggregation to provide fast reliable enumeration while minimizing data artefacts due to post sampling growth; (2) Determination of basic cell functions such as reproductive ability, metabolic activity and membrane integrity, to characterise the physiological state or degree of viability of bacteria; and (3) The use of single cell sorting onto agar plates, microscope slides or into multi-well plates to correlate viability as determined by cell growth with fluorescent labelling techniques. Simultaneous staining with different fluorochromes provides an extremely powerful way to demonstrate culture heterogeneity, and also to understand the functional differences revealed by each stain in practical applications. Analysis of bacterial fermentations showed a considerable drop (20%) in membrane potential and integrity during the latter stages of small scale (5L), wel...Continue Reading


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