The use of flow cytometry in combination with fluorescent dyes as a technique to rapidly differentiate and enumerate bacterial and yeast cells is well established. We have shown that through the judicial choice of stains, the nondestructive screening and sorting of fungal material is possible. The early stages of growth, from germination through hyphal development of three filamentous fungal species, Penicillium, Phoma and Trichoderma, have been followed using forward- and side-angle scatter on a Becton Dickinson FACSCalibur flow cytometer. By staining isolates with the permeant fluorogenic substrates, dihydroethidium and hexidium iodide metabolic activity in the developing hyphae has been measured. We have been able to demonstrate that there is a 12-13 h window of opportunity during which germination and the early stages of hyphal development of filamentous fungi can be analysed by flow cytometry.