Microbes and Environments
Online ISSN : 1347-4405
Print ISSN : 1342-6311
ISSN-L : 1342-6311
Regular Paper
Simple In-liquid Staining of Microbial Cells for Flow Cytometry Quantification of the Microbial Population in Marine Subseafloor Sediments
Fumiaki MoriTomoya NishimuraTaisuke WakamatsuTakeshi TeradaYuki Morono
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Supplementary material

2021 Volume 36 Issue 3


Microbial cell counting provides essential information for the study of cell abundance profiles and biogeochemical interactions with the surrounding environments. However, it often requires labor-intensive and time-consuming processes, particularly for subseafloor sediment samples, in which non-cell particles are abundant. We developed a rapid and straightforward method for staining microbial intracellular DNA by SYBR Green I (SYBR-I) to enumerate cells by flow cytometry (FCM). We initially examined the efficiency of microbial cell staining at various dye/sediment ratios (volume ratio of SYBR-I/sediment [vSYBR/vSed]). Non-cell particles in sediment strongly and preferentially adsorbed SYBR-I dye, resulting in the unsuccessful staining of microbial cells when an insufficient ratio (<1.63 vSYBR/vSed) of SYBR-I dye was present per volume of sediment. SYBR-I dye at an abundance of 10 vSYBR/vSed successfully and stably stained microbial cells in green fluorescence, while the fluorescent color of non-cell particles red-shifted to yellow-orange with the overaccumulation of SYBR-I dye. A low vSYBR/vSed ratio was quickly recognized by a colorless supernatant after centrifugation. At the appropriate vSYBR/vSed ratio, FCM-measured cell concentrations in subseafloor sediments were consistently similar to microscopy counts (>106 cells cm–3). Samples with low cell abundance (<105 cells cm–3) still require cell separation. This modified staining allows us to efficiently process and perform the microbial cell counting of sediment samples to a depth of a few hundred meters below the seafloor with a higher throughput and capability to scale up than procedures employing microscopy-based observations.

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© 2021 by Japanese Society of Microbial Ecology / Japanese Society of Soil Microbiology / Taiwan Society of Microbial Ecology / Japanese Society of Plant Microbe Interactions / Japanese Society for Extremophiles.
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