Use of flow cytometric methods for single-cell analysis in environmental microbiology

Curr Opin Microbiol. 2008 Jun;11(3):205-12. doi: 10.1016/j.mib.2008.04.006. Epub 2008 Jun 16.


Flow cytometry (FCM) is emerging as an important tool in environmental microbiology. Although flow cytometry applications have to date largely been restricted to certain specialized fields of microbiology, such as the bacterial cell cycle and marine phytoplankton communities, technical advances in instrumentation and methodology are leading to its increased popularity and extending its range of applications. Here we will focus on a number of recent flow cytometry developments important for addressing questions in environmental microbiology. These include (i) the study of microbial physiology under environmentally relevant conditions, (ii) new methods to identify active microbial populations and to isolate previously uncultured microorganisms, and (iii) the development of high-throughput autofluorescence bioreporter assays.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Bacteria / classification
  • Bacteria / cytology*
  • Bacteria / genetics
  • Bacteria / metabolism
  • Environmental Microbiology*
  • Flow Cytometry* / instrumentation
  • Flow Cytometry* / methods
  • In Situ Hybridization, Fluorescence