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J Microbiol Methods. 2003 Jan;52(1):39-46.

Optimization of direct cell counting in sediment.

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Civil and Environmental Engineering Department, Northwestern University, 2145 Sheridan Road, Evanston, IL, USA.


This study reports a method for optimizing direct counts of bacteria in sediment, designed to reduce the masking by sediment particles. The protocol was designed to determine appropriate dilution factors by incorporating counting statistics and was used to measure depth-associated changes in microbial abundance in metal-impacted freshwater sediments. We demonstrated a direct method to determine appropriate sample dilution for accurate counting by adding a known amount of cells to the sediment. For accurate counting in our sediment samples, we determined that the average number of bacteria per microscope ocular field must be between 8.5 and 10. This is well below the 30 bacteria/field previously suggested for accurate counting. These results indicate that an optimal dilution rate must be determined before accurate direct counts in sediment can be achieved.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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