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Microsc Res Tech. 1992 Jan 1;20(1):87-94.

Comparison of alcian blue and ruthenium red effects on preservation of outer envelope ultrastructure in methanotrophic bacteria.

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Department of Biological Sciences, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee 53201.


Alcian blue (AB) and ruthenium red (RR) effects on ultrastructural preservation of the bacterial cell envelope of methanotrophs are compared. A previous successful method with RR that enhanced preservation of outer envelope layers in two representative methanotroph species is applied to other genera and species of methanotropic bacteria. Alcian blue is substituted for RR in this en bloc protocol. The effect of AB on preservation of these layers is assessed at the ultrastructural level and compared to RR for all species examined. Further, comparison with freeze etch and a fixation in the absence of either RR or AB is made. Both RR and AB are found to aid preservation and help visualize additional components of the cell envelope which are lost or minimized in a standard fixation not employing these cationic reagents. For some species, images obtained are similar between RR and AB procedures and agree with images seen by freeze etch. For other species, AB preserves extended filamentous material that is partially condensed even with the use of RR. Thus, use of AB improves the preservation of outer envelope structure in these organisms equally or more effectively than use of RR.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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