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

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  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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