Rapid in situ assessment of physiological activities in bacterial biofilms using fluorescent probes
Yu, Feipeng Philip
McFeters, Gordon A.
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Two rapid in situ enumeration methods using fluorescent probes were used to assess the physiological activities of Klebsiella pneumoniae biofilms on stainless steel. Fluorescent dyes, 5-cyano-2,3-ditolyl tetrazolium chloride (CTC) and rhodamine 123 (Rh 123), were chosen to perform this study. CTC is a soluble redox indicator which can be reduced by respiring bacteria to fluorescent CTC-formazan crystals. Rh 123 is incorporated into bacteria with respect to cellular proton motive force. The intracellular accumulation of these fluorescent dyes can be determined using epifluorescence microscopy. The results obtained with these two fluorescent probes in situ were compared to the plate count (PC) and in situ direct viable count (DVC) methods. Viable cell densities within biofilms determined by the three in situ methods were comparable and always showed approximately 2-fold higher values that those obtained with the PC method. As an additional advantage, the results were observed after 2 h, which was shorter than the 4 h incubation time required for the DVC method and 24 h for colony formation. The results indicate that staining with CTC and Rh 123 provides rapid information regarding cell numbers and physiological activities of bacteria within biofilms.
Yu, F.P. and G.A. McFeters, "Rapid in situ assessment of physiological activities in bacterial biofilms using fluorescent probes," Journal of Microbiological Methods, 20(1):1-10 (1994).