Document Detail

Limits of propidium iodide as a cell viability indicator for environmental bacteria.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  17421025     Owner:  NLM     Status:  MEDLINE    
BACKGROUND: Viability measurements of individual bacteria are applied in various scopes of research and industry using approaches where propidium iodide (PI) serves as dead cell indicator. The reliability of PI uptake as a cell viability indicator for dead (PI permeable) and viable (PI impermeable) bacteria was tested using two soil bacteria, the gram(-) Sphingomonas sp. LB126 and the gram(+) Mycobacterium frederiksbergense LB501T. METHODS: Bacterial proliferation activities observed viaDAPI and Hoechst 33342 staining were linked to the energy charge and the proportion of dead cells as obtained by diOC(6) (3)-staining and PI-uptake, respectively. Calibration and verification experiments were performed using batch cultures grown on different substrates. RESULTS: PI uptake depended on the physiological state of the bacterial cells. Unexpectedly, up to 40% of both strains were stained by PI during early exponential growth on glucose when compared to 2-5% of cells in the early stationary phase of growth. CONCLUSIONS: The results question the utility of PI as a universal indicator for the viability of (environmental) bacteria. It rather appears that in addition to nonviable cells, PI also stains growing cells of Sphingomonas sp. and M. frederiksbergense during a short period of their life cycle.
Lei Shi; Susanne Günther; Thomas Hübschmann; Lukas Y Wick; Hauke Harms; Susann Müller
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Publication Detail:
Type:  Journal Article    
Journal Detail:
Title:  Cytometry. Part A : the journal of the International Society for Analytical Cytology     Volume:  71     ISSN:  1552-4922     ISO Abbreviation:  Cytometry A     Publication Date:  2007 Aug 
Date Detail:
Created Date:  2007-07-31     Completed Date:  2007-09-19     Revised Date:  -    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  101235694     Medline TA:  Cytometry A     Country:  United States    
Other Details:
Languages:  eng     Pagination:  592-8     Citation Subset:  IM    
Copyright Information:
Copyright 2007 International Society for Analytical Cytology.
Department of Environmental Microbiology, UFZ, Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research, Leipzig-Halle, 04318 Leipzig, Germany.
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MeSH Terms
Benzimidazoles / metabolism
Carbocyanines / metabolism
Environmental Microbiology*
Escherichia coli / growth & development
Indoles / metabolism
Microbial Viability*
Mycobacterium / cytology*,  growth & development
Propidium / analysis*,  metabolism*
Reproducibility of Results
Sphingomonas / cytology*,  growth & development
Staining and Labeling
Time Factors
Reg. No./Substance:
0/Benzimidazoles; 0/Carbocyanines; 0/Indoles; 23491-52-3/HOE 33342; 36015-30-2/Propidium; 47165-04-8/DAPI; 54501-79-0/3,3'-dihexyl-2,2'-oxacarbocyanine

From MEDLINE®/PubMed®, a database of the U.S. National Library of Medicine

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