Direct Microscopic Count

One of the most rapid methods of determining the number of cells in a suspension is the direct microscopic count. The number of bacteria in a measured volume of liquid is counted using special glass slides, counting chambers, that hold a known volume of liquid (figure 4.11). These can be viewed under the light microscope, and the number of bacteria contained in the liquid can be counted precisely. At least 10 million bacteria (107) per milliliter, however, are required to gain an accurate estimate. Otherwise, few, if any, cells will be seen in the microscope field.

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