Caister Academic Press

Application of Flow Cytometry to Environmental Biotechnology

Mónica Herrero and Mario Díaz
from: Flow Cytometry in Microbiology: Technology and Applications (Edited by: Martin G. Wilkinson). Caister Academic Press, U.K. (2015) Pages: 59-76.


The number of publications applying Flow Cytometry (FCM) as an analytical technique is increasing in the field of environmental biotechnology. This field is defined "as the development, use and regulation of biological systems for remediation of contaminated environments (land, air, water) for environmental-friendly processes". FCM complements existing technologies and enables new information to be obtained from microbial ecosystems. Difficulties with analysis and differentiation of bacterial cells due to their small size and similar morphologies can be addressed with recent technical advances in equipment handling, improved instrument cell-sorting capacities, development of fluorescent dyes and multi-parametric analysis. FCM allows the use of taxonomic and physiological probes to detect and characterize microbial communities or single cells, even target cells expressing specific gene functions. Indeed many of the microorganisms present in natural samples or involved in environmental bioprocesses are not cultivable and often undergo changes in their conditions that rapidly affect their population dynamics. Characterization of microbial physiological states is a key application for environmental bioprocesses optimization. FCM has been used to ensure effectiveness of drinking water quality, wastewater treatments, to check the hazardous effects of anthropogenic toxic substances released to the environment or to assess bacterial viability in soils, facilitating rapid statistically relevant data acquisition, within almost real-time conditions read more ...
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