Recent advances of flow cytometry in fundamental and applied microbiology


Laboratoire de Cytométrie (LDC), Direction des Sciences du Vivant, CEA, BP 6, 92265 Fontenay-aux-Roses Cedex France

Institut de Biotechnologie, Faculté des Sciences, 123 Avenue A Thomas, 87060 Limoges Cedex, France


Summary— This review focuses on the recent applications of flow cytometry (FCM) in microbiological research (1987-mid 1992). It tries to give a scope of the important breakthroughs which occurred in this field during this period. The technical difficulties of microorganism analysis by flow cytometry is briefly appraised. The significance and the limits of the different microbial cell parameters attainable by flow analyses are systematically evaluated: light scatter for cell size and structure, fluorescence measurements for quantification of cellular components, microbial antigen detection and cell physiological activity estimation. Emphasis is given on the new technological advances which appeared in the last two years. The second part of the review is devoted to the analysis of the usefulness of flow cytometric approach in the different fields of microbiology: fundamental studies in microbial physiology, differentiation, microbial ecology and aquatic sciences, medical microbiology, parasitology, microbial pharmacology and biotechnology.