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Appl Environ Microbiol. 1991 Sep;57(9):2731-4.

Abundance of viruses in marine waters: assessment by epifluorescence and transmission electron microscopy.

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  • 1Graduate School of Science and Technology, Kobe University, Rokkodai, Nada-ku, Kobe 657, and Ocean Research Institute, University of Tokyo, Nakano, Tokyo 164, Japan.


Abundance of bacteria and tiny DNA-associated particles in the upper layer of Japanese coastal and offshore waters was evaluated by epifluorescence microscopy with 0.015-mum-pore-size Nuclepore filters. The number of tiny DNA-associated particles was compared with the abundance of virus particles estimated by transmission electron microscopy. Although a large variation in virus abundance (1.2 x 10 to 35 x 10 ml) was obtained with the transmission electron microscopy method, the ratio of 4',6-diamidino-2-phenylindole-reactive tiny particles to viruses was in a rather narrow range (1.0 to 1.6), indicating that the majority of the tiny DNA-associated particles identified by epifluorescence microscopy were actually virus particles. This result implies the possibility of using epifluorescence microscopy for the evaluation of virus abundance in marine environments.

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