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Chapter 71 : “The Great Plate Count Anomaly” That Is No More

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“The Great Plate Count Anomaly” That Is No More, Page 1 of 2

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Abstract:

For over a century, microbiologists have been using growth media solidified with agar to culture microbes from environmental samples. Individual cells are easily separated on the solid surface, allowing each cell to grow and divide and form a colony of thousands of clones. We can change the nutrients in the media and physical parameters such as temperature and pH to promote the growth of different microbes. But no matter the trick, we still fall short and can only successfully cultivate in the lab a few microbes of the many that we can see under the microscope in the original sample. Estimates are that we can cultivate roughly one out of every 100 microbes. This is what has been described as “The Great Plate Count Anomaly.” So great has our frustration been that we have bypassed the growth step altogether and developed approaches to directly sequence the genomes of the so-called “unculturable” microbes from the environment. We have learned a lot from the sequence information, but our knowledge is still limited by our inability to grow these microbes in the lab. And, as many rightly say, “to really know them, you have to grow them.”

Citation: Reguera G. 2016. “The Great Plate Count Anomaly” That Is No More, p 288-291. In Schaechter M, In the Company of Microbes: 10 Years of Small Things Considered. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555819606.ch71
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Citation: Reguera G. 2016. “The Great Plate Count Anomaly” That Is No More, p 288-291. In Schaechter M, In the Company of Microbes: 10 Years of Small Things Considered. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555819606.ch71
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Gemma Reguera is associate professor in the Department of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics, Michigan State University and an Associate Blogger at STC.

Citation: Reguera G. 2016. “The Great Plate Count Anomaly” That Is No More, p 288-291. In Schaechter M, In the Company of Microbes: 10 Years of Small Things Considered. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555819606.ch71
Permissions and Reprints Request Permissions
Download as Powerpoint
Image of Untitled
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Citation: Reguera G. 2016. “The Great Plate Count Anomaly” That Is No More, p 288-291. In Schaechter M, In the Company of Microbes: 10 Years of Small Things Considered. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555819606.ch71
Permissions and Reprints Request Permissions
Download as Powerpoint

References

/content/book/10.1128/9781555819606.chap71
1. Tanaka T, Kawasaki K, Daimon S, Kitagawa W, Yamamoto K, Tamaki H, Tanaka M, Nakatsu CH, Kamagata YA hidden pitfall in the preparation of agar media undermines microorganism cultivability.Appl Environ Microbiol2014802476597666PMID 25281372

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