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Curr Protoc Microbiol. 2006 Dec;Chapter 2:Unit 2B.1. doi: 10.1002/9780471729259.mc02b01s03.

Transmission electron microscopy.

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  • 1Texas A&M University, College Station, Texas, USA.


Transmission electron microscopy has long been an important analytical tool in the field of microbiology. This unit describes preparation techniques for examining particulate samples as well as samples presenting more complex ultrastructural considerations that require analysis in thin sections. Negative staining is a useful technique for routine examination of particulate samples in suspension ranging from bacteria to purified macromolecules. In order to investigate the relationships between microbes and the environments with which they interface, fixed samples can be prepared for imaging in sections of 60- to 90-nm thickness. Due to the many steps in sample preparation for ultrastructural analysis of thin-sectioned samples, the major steps in the process are divided into fixation and initial processing of samples for thin sectioning, the embedment of samples into a plastic resin for sectioning, ultramicrotomy, and staining of samples. Procedures for immunolocalization of antigens in negatively stained and thin-sectioned preparations are also considered.

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