Rapid identification of microorganisms by intrinsic fluorescence

H. Bhatta*, E. M. Goldys, R. Learmonth

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

9 Citations (Scopus)


Microbial contamination has serious consequences for the industries that use fermentation processes. Common contaminants such as faster growing lactic acid bacteria or wild yeast can rapidly outnumber inoculated culture yeast and produce undesirable end products. Our study focuses on a rapid method of identification of such contaminants based on autofluorescence spectroscopy of bacterial and yeast species. Lactic acid bacteria (Lactobacillus casei), and yeast (Saccharomyces cerevisiae) were cultured under controlled conditions and studied for variations in their autofluorescence. We observed spectral differences in the spectral range representative of tryptophan residues of proteins, with excitation at 290 nm and emission scanned in the 300 nm - 440 nm range. Excitation scans between 240 nm and 310 nm were also performed for the emission at 340 nm. Moreover, we observed clearly pronounced differences in the excitation and emission in the visible range, with 410 nm excitation. These results demonstrate that bacterial and yeast species can be differentiated using their intrinsic fluorescence both in UV and in the visible region. The comparative spectroscopic study of selected strains of Saccharomyces yeast showed clear differences between strains. Spectrally-resolved laser scanning microscopy was carried out to link the results obtained using ensembles of cells with spectral properties of individual cells. Strongly fluorescent subpopulation were observed for all yeast strains with excitation at 405 nm. The fluorescence spectra showed variations correlated with cell brightness. The presented results demonstrate that using autofluorescence, it is possible to differentiate between yeast and lactic acid bacteria and between different yeast species.

Original languageEnglish
Article number02
Pages (from-to)9-18
Number of pages10
JournalProgress in Biomedical Optics and Imaging - Proceedings of SPIE
Publication statusPublished - 2005

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Rapid identification of microorganisms by intrinsic fluorescence'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this