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Microbial-Community Analysis--An Automated System.

Microorganisms are typically the first organisms to react to chemical and physical changes in the environment. Because microorganisms are at the bottom of the food chain, changes in microbial communities are often precursors to changes in the health and viability of the environment as a whole.

Biolog, Inc., has developed an automated system for fingerprinting and tracking mixed cultures of microbes from a variety of environmental samples. Release 4.01C MicroStation[TM] and MicroLog 3E allow laboratory technicians to easily perform microbial ecological analysis on soil, water, and other samples. When the MicroLog Systems are used in conjunction with the Biolog GN, Eco, and MT MicroPlates[TM] microbial-community analysis and ecological studies can be performed on virtually any environmental sample.

Biolog MicroPlates monitor cell respiration: When a cell can use a nutrient present in one of the 96 wells of the MicroPlate, the organism will begin to respire, creating a by-product that oxidizes a tetrazolium dye used in Biolog's patented redox chemistry. The microbes will create characteristic patterns in the wells of the MicroPlate. These patterns are monitored over several days and evaluated with Biolog software.

Community analysis of microorganisms was originally described in 1991 by J. Garland and A. Mills. These researchers found that by inoculating Biolog GN MicroPlates with a mixed culture of microorganisms and measuring the community fingerprint over time, they could ascertain characteristics of the community This approach, called community-level physiological profiling, has been demonstrated to be effective at distinguishing spatial and temporal changes in microbial communities. In applied ecological research, the MicroPlates are used to assess both the stability of a normal population and any changes resulting from a variable introduced into the environment.

The MicroLog 3E is designed specifically for microbial-ecology analysis. The MicroStation allows the laboratory technician to identify isolated organisms automatically by interfacing with Biolog's database of over 1,400 species of bacteria and yeast.
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Publication:Journal of Environmental Health
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Oct 1, 2000
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