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Use of fluorescence spectroscopy to differentiate yeast and bacterial cells


This study focuses on the characterization of bacterial and yeast species through their autofluorescence spectra. Lactic acid bacteria (Lactobacillus sp.), and yeast (Saccharomyces sp.) were cultured under controlled conditions and studied for variations in their autofluorescence, particularly in the area representative of tryptophan residues of proteins. The emission and excitation spectra clearly reveal that bacterial and yeast species can be differentiated by their intrinsic fluorescence with UV excitation. The possibility of differentiation between different strains of Saccharomyces yeast was also studied, with clear differences observed for selected strains. The study shows that fluorescence can be successfully used to differentiate between yeast and bacteria and between different yeast species, through the identification of spectroscopic fingerprints, without the need for fluorescent staining.

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The authors would like to acknowledge the support of grants from the Australian Research Council and the National Health and Medical Research Council Research Network for Fluorescence Applications in Biotechnology and Life Sciences (RN0460002), Macquarie University Research & Development Scheme, and the University of Southern Queensland Centre for Rural & Environmental Biotechnology.

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Correspondence to Hemant Bhatta.

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Bhatta, H., Goldys, E.M. & Learmonth, R.P. Use of fluorescence spectroscopy to differentiate yeast and bacterial cells. Appl Microbiol Biotechnol 71, 121–126 (2006). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00253-005-0309-y

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  • Lactic Acid Bacterium
  • Yeast Strain
  • Yeast Species
  • Tryptophan Residue
  • Yeast Nitrogen Base