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Curr Opin Biotechnol. 2010 Feb;21(1):100-13. doi: 10.1016/j.copbio.2010.01.002.

Origin and analysis of microbial population heterogeneity in bioprocesses.

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Department of Environmental Microbiology, UFZ - Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research, Permoserstrasse 15, 04318 Leipzig, Germany. <>


Heterogeneity of industrial production cultures is accepted to a certain degree; however, the underlying mechanisms are seldom perceived or included in the development of new bioprocess control strategies. Population heterogeneity and its basics, perceptible in the diverse proficiency of cells, begins with asymmetric birth and is found to recess during the life cycle. Since inefficient subpopulations have significant impact on the productivity of industrial cultures, cellular heterogeneity needs to be detected and quantified by using high speed detection tools like flow cytometry. Possible origins of population heterogeneity, sophisticated fluorescent techniques for detection of individual cell states, and cutting-edge Omics-technologies for extended information beyond the resolution of fluorescent labelling are highlighted.

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