Detection of Bacteria in Environmental Waters Independent of Their Cultivability

Rapid detection of bacteria in aquatic environments has been a challenging task in microbiology studies, especially for natural water containing complex microbial populations. 

Traditional methods of bacterial identification are based on observations of either the morphology of single cells or colony characteristics when grown on agar. However, the microbes grown on agar medium with visible colonies are less than 1% of the total, and most bacteria, though obviously present and active, aren’t efficiently cultured.

Flow cytometers with a high sensitivity of detection provide tools for detecting and analyzing microbes independent of their cultivability. The size, number, nucleic acid content, activity, and classification of bacteria can be derived from scattered light and fluorescence signals using flow cytometry. 

This Application Note describes a straightforward approach to detect and quantify bacteria in water samples from different sources. 

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