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Microbiology: Dyes for bacteria and yeast

The CellBrite™ Cytoplasmic Membrane Dyes do not stain bacteria. The reactive CellBrite™ Fix dyes stain both gram positive and 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.

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.

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