Bacterial viability utilizes two highly-specific, ultrasensitive fluorescent reagents to quickly and easily assess the percentage of live and dead cells within a bacterial culture, the total cell stain is permeant to all cells and thus all bacteria within the culture will be stained allowing the total number to be calculated.
The dead cell stain is inpermeant to living cells and as such will only be able to enter and stain dead cells; this allows the number of dead cells to be calculated. The ratio of dead to live cells can then be quickly and easily calculated. The ability to measure the viability of a bacterial culture has importance in many aspects of microbiology. Whether dealing with uncharacterized species or pathogenic strains, the ability to measure the effects of different media or the effect of drug treatment on bacterial survival is highly advantageous in advancing knowledge of these organisms.