Table 1

Bacteria quantification methods
Method Range of detection Time to obtain results Distinguishes live vs. dead Persisters included in quantification Applications Equipment needed Count affected by minor bacterial clumps
CFU count Unlimited Days Yes Yes Determination of absolute bacterial number None Yes
Absorbance 108–1010 bacteria/mL Immediate No No Follow growth curves Spectrophotometer or plate reader No
Microscopy Unlimited Minutes Yes, with staining No Determination of absolute bacterial number Microscope No
Flow cytometry > ~5000 Minutes Yes, with staining Yes, if not below detection Determination of absolute bacterial number FACS Yes
MBRT [2] > ~107 Hours Yes No (metabolically quiescent cells missed) MIC and MAC determination Spectrophotometer No
SGT Unlimited Hours Yes Yes HTS, persister Quantification Plate reader No

Hazan et al.

Hazan et al. BMC Microbiology 2012 12:259   doi:10.1186/1471-2180-12-259

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