Multi-parameter flow cytometry and cell sorting reveal extensive physiological heterogeneity in Bacillus cereus batch cultures

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


  • A Want
  • H Hancocks
  • SM Stocks
  • G Nebe-von-Caron
  • CJ Hewitt

Colleges, School and Institutes


Based on two staining protocols, DiOC(6)(3)/propidium iodide (PI) and RedoxSensor Green (an indicator of bacterial reductase activity)/PI, multi-parameter flow cytometry and cell sorting has identified at least four distinguishable physiological states during batch cultures of Bacillus cereus. Furthermore, dependent on the position in the growth curve, single cells gave rise to varying numbers of colonies when sorted individually onto nutrient agar plates. These growing colonies derived from a single cell had widely different lag phases, inferred from differences in colony size. This further highlights the complex population dynamics of bacterial monocultures and further demonstrates that individual bacterial cells in a culture respond in markedly dissimilar ways to the environment, resulting in a physiologically heterogenous and dynamic population.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1395-1405
Number of pages11
JournalBiotechnology Letters
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2011


  • Flow cytometry, Membrane integrity, Cell sorting, Bis-(1,3-dibutylbarbituric acid) trimethine oxonol, Bacillus cereus, 3,3 '-Dihexylocarbocyanine iodide, Membrane potential