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Microbiology: Dyes for bacteria and yeast

Fixation is not recommended after staining with the Viability/Cytotoxicity Assay Kit (cat. # 30027) as the dead cell dye, EthD-III will transfer to all cells and not maintain dead cell-specific staining. Our Live-or-Dye™ NucFix™ Red (cat. # 32010) is a formaldehyde-fixable dead cell dye that can be used in bacteria.

Viability qPCR (vPCR) can be an alternative strategy for quantitating live and dead bacteria. Using dead cell-specific dyes, PMA (cat. # 40019) or PMAxx (cat. # 40069) that covalently modify DNA (of only dead cells) after photo-crosslinking, a simple quantitative PCR (qPCR) amplification is used to selectively amplify live-cell DNA. Learn more about the vPCR technology.

The CellBrite™ Cytoplasmic Membrane Dyes do not stain bacteria. The reactive CellBrite™ Fix dyes stain both gram-positive and gram-negative bacteria, while the MemBrite™ Fix dyes stain only gram-positive bacteria. However we have not tested these dyes for cell division tracking in bacteria.

There is literature describing the use of CFSE to track bacterial cell division,  the ViaFluor® SE cell proliferation dyes are likely to work in a similar manner, but we have not tested this.

See our Cellular Stains Table for a comprehensive list of cellular stains with their ability to stain various cell types.

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