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Appl Environ Microbiol. 1983 Aug;46(2):491-8.

Technique for enumeration of heterotrophic and phototrophic nanoplankton, using epifluorescence microscopy, and comparison with other procedures.

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Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, Woods Hole, Massachusetts 02543.


A new method is described that uses the fluorochrome primulin and epifluorescence microscopy for the enumeration of heterotrophic and phototrophic nanoplankton (2 to 20 mum). Phototrophic microorganisms are distinguished from heterotrophs by the red autofluorescence of chlorophyll a. Separate filter sets are used which allow visualization of the primulin-stained nanoplankton without masking chlorophyll a fluorescence, thus allowing easy recognition of phototrophic cells. Comparison with existing epifluorescence techniques for counting heterotrophic and phototrophic nanoplankton shows that primulin provides more accurate counts of these populations than the fluorescein isothiocyanate or proflavine techniques. Accuracy is comparable to that with the acridine orange technique, but this method requires only one filter preparation for the enumeration of both phototrophic and heterotrophic populations.

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