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J Microbiol Methods. 2000 Jul;41(2):135-43.

Microanalysis of antimicrobial properties of human fluids.

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Departments of Medicine and Pathology and the Will Rogers Institute for Pulmonary Research, UCLA School of Medicine, Los Angeles, CA, 90095-1690, USA.


Host defense responses of animals and plants to pathogenic microbes are mediated in part by the release of antimicrobial substances into tissue fluids. Exploration of the antimicrobial properties of tissue fluids is often limited by their small quantity. We have developed assays of antimicrobial activity that require only 1 microl of fluid. Using normal nasal secretions as a model mucosal fluid we demonstrated that the kinetics of the 1 microl colony-forming unit (CFU) assays were equivalent to the larger CFU assays. The handling of viscous mucin-containing fluids was facilitated by pretreatment with N-acetylcysteine (NAC), a treatment that did not alter the performance of the assay. This low-volume assay will facilitate studies of the antimicrobial properties of scarce biological fluids.

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