Flow cytometry as rapid detection method for bacteria (Flowdetect)

Bacteria stained for flow cytometry in fluorescence microscopy

Flow cytometry is a powerful method to detect bacteria within minutes. In the FlowDetect project this method is going to be validated in round robin tests with project partners from science and industry. Tests to further improve the significance and hygienic relevance of the results are also conducted.

The characterisation and quantitative detection of bacteria in a water sample is possible in minutes using flow cytometry. Results of colony counts, in contrast, are available after 48 hours at the earliest. This time advantage and the availability of mobile devices are essential factors for a promising application in water analysis.

Many publications are currently promoting general application areas such as the monitoring of disinfection methods. However, du to different action princibles of disinfection methods, flowcytometry is not fully applicable for all applications, yet.

The aim of this project is to systematically develop the potential and limits of this pioneering technology. Flow cytometry is going to be further developed and validated for multiple applications. The development focusses on the rapid measurement of the total cell count and the characterisation of raw and drinking water. The projects development is targeted on the specific detection of fecal indicators such as E. coli and the monitoring of disinfection processes (live/dead differentiation).

In course of the project, validation experiments are going to be performed and compared with reference methods (GZZ, cultural methods). With samples from water suppliers, the further development of flow cytometry in FlowDetect is in step with actual practice.


Ho, J.:  Mikrobiologische Lebend/tot-Unterscheidung. Veröffentlichungen aus dem Technologiezentrum Wasser, ISSN 1434-5765, TZW-Band 81 (2018)

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