Byron Brehm-Stecher - Single-cell microbiology: tools, technologies, and applications.

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      Publication Details (including relevant citation   information):

      Microbiol   Mol Biol Rev. 2004 Sep;68(3):538-59.

      Abstract:

      The field of microbiology has traditionally been concerned with   and focused on studies at the population level. Information on   how cells respond to their environment, interact with each other,   or undergo complex processes such as cellular differentiation or   gene expression has been obtained mostly by inference from   population-level data. Individual microorganisms, even those in   supposedly "clonal" populations, may differ widely from each   other in terms of their genetic composition, physiology,   biochemistry, or behavior. This genetic and phenotypic   heterogeneity has important practical consequences for a number   of human interests, including antibiotic or biocide resistance,   the productivity and stability of industrial fermentations, the   efficacy of food preservatives, and the potential of pathogens to   cause disease. New appreciation of the importance of cellular   heterogeneity, coupled with recent advances in technology, has   driven the development of new tools and techniques for the study   of individual microbial cells. Because observations made at the   single-cell level are not subject to the "averaging" effects   characteristic of bulk-phase, population-level methods, they   offer the unique capacity to observe discrete microbiological   phenomena unavailable using traditional approaches. As a result,   scientists have been able to characterize microorganisms, their   activities, and their interactions at unprecedented levels of   detail.

      Address (URL): http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15353569