Since the 1960s, several new attempts have been made to improve the management of single prokaryotic cells using micromanipulator techniques. In order to facilitate the isolation of pure cultures we have recently developed an improved micromanipulation method for routine work. With the aid of this method single prokaryotic cells can be picked out of a mixed community under direct visual control. The isolated aerobic or anaerobic cells can be grown in pure culture or can be subjected to single cell PCR. Other powerful and completely new approaches are the applications of laser micromanipulation systems, such as optical tweezers or laser microdissection techniques. Of the latter two methods only optical tweezers have been successfully applied to cloning prokaryotic cells.