Byron Brehm-Stecher - Methods for Whole Cell Detection of Microorganisms (book chapter)

Version 1

      Publication Details (including relevant citation   information):

      Microbial Surfaces


        Structure, Interactions, and Reactivity  

        Editor(s): Terri A. Camesano1,     Charlene M. Mello2 
        Volume 984  
          1 Worcester Polytechnic Institute    
        2 U.S. Natick Soldier Center  
        ISBN13: 9780841274303  
        eISBN: 9780841221277  
        DOI: 10.1021/bk-2008-0984  
      Sponsoring   Divisions: Division of Colloid and Surface Chemistry


      Microbes are ubiquitous, and can be found occupying nearly

      every imaginable niche on Earth. These include organic and

      inorganic surfaces, interfacial boundaries and within

      macroscopically solid matrices, such as the pore space of

      rocks. Because phylogenetically divergent microbes may be

      visually indistinguishable, understanding the species

      distribution and ecological significance of environmental

      microbes requires diagnostic tools that extend beyond simple

      phenotypic description. Methods for microbial diagnostics can

      be divided into two broad categories: cellular and acellular.

      Acellular techniques, such as the polymerase chain reaction or

      certain immunoassay formats may be effective at detecting

      molecular, structural or biochemical targets associated with

      specific cell types, but this information is provided out of its

      "natural", and arguably most meaningful context - that of the

      individual microbial cell. In contrast, cellular methods have

      the potential to preserve an abundance of valuable

      information. Apart from molecular identity, this includes

      information regarding cell morphology and other physiological

      characteristics, cell number and distribution within a sample,

      and physical or spatial associations with other cell types. The

      aim of this chapter is to provide an overview of whole cell

      methods for microbial detection, including both existing

      approaches and those still in development. The tools described

      here are expected to find wide application for the detection of

      microbes on surfaces or within complex matrices across a

      number of parallel or allied fields, including environmental,

      food and clinical microbiologies.

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