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Brazilian Journal of Microbiology
Print version ISSN 1517-8382
OSIRO, Denise et al. Measuring bacterial cells size with AFM. Braz. J. Microbiol. [online]. 2012, vol.43, n.1, pp. 341-347. ISSN 1517-8382. http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S1517-83822012000100040.
Atomic Force Microscopy (AFM) can be used to obtain high-resolution topographical images of bacteria revealing surface details and cell integrity. During scanning however, the interactions between the AFM probe and the membrane results in distortion of the images. Such distortions or artifacts are the result of geometrical effects related to bacterial cell height, specimen curvature and the AFM probe geometry. The most common artifact in imaging is surface broadening, what can lead to errors in bacterial sizing. Several methods of correction have been proposed to compensate for these artifacts and in this study we describe a simple geometric model for the interaction between the tip (a pyramidal shaped AFM probe) and the bacterium (Escherichia coli JM-109 strain) to minimize the enlarging effect. Approaches to bacteria immobilization and examples of AFM images analysis are also described.
Keywords : Atomic force microscopy (AFM); Escherichia coli; cell dimensions; bacteria visualization.