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J Gen Microbiol. 1983 Apr;129(4):973-80.

Flow cytometry of bacteria: a promising tool in experimental and clinical microbiology.


The DNA and protein content of individual Escherichia coli cells were measured at a rate of 10(4) cells per second with a sensitive microscope-based flow cytometer. DNA and protein were quantified by measuring the fluorescence from cells stained with a combination of the DNA-binding drugs Mithramycin and ethidium bromide and by scattered light, respectively. Separate experiments demonstrated that the light scatter signal was proportional to protein content. Dual parameter histograms (fluorescence/scattered light) of bacterial cultures gave detailed pictures of changes dependent upon the growth conditions and of the cell cycle kinetics. Effects of antibiotics could be readily detected and characterized after a few hours. The results demonstrate that flow cytometry is a promising method for application in experimental and clinical microbiology.

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