False Positives in Biolog EcoPlates (TM) and MT2 MicroPlates (TM) Caused by Calcium
Journal of Microbiological Methods
Biolog MicroPlates (TM) (e.g. EcoPlate (TM), MT2 MicroPlate (TM), GN MicroPlate (TM)) are useful tools for characterizing microbial communities, providing community-level physiological profiles to terrestrial and aquatic ecologists. The more recently designed Biolog EcoPlates have been used frequently in aquatic ecology with success. This study, however, reveals one major problem when using EcoPlates to evaluate samples within an estuarine or seawater matrix. At concentrations greater than 100 parts per million, the cation calcium begins to interfere with the microplate chemistry, causing false positive readings. Experiments, in which multiple treatments of natural and artificial seawater were tested, as well as calcium-addition experiments, demonstrate that calcium inhibits complete dissolution of the minimal growth medium in wells. Future studies involving Biolog EcoPlates and MicroPlates should take this effect into account, and the dilution of samples is strongly recommended to diminish the "calcium effect."
Original Publication Citation
Pierce, M.L., Ward, J.E., & Dobbs, F.C. (2014). False positives in Biolog Ecoplates (TM) and MT2 Microplates (TM) caused by calcium. Journal of Microbiological Methods, 97, 20-24. doi: 10.1016/j.mimet.2013.12.002
Pierce, Melissa L.; Ward, J. Evan; and Dobbs, Fred C., "False Positives in Biolog EcoPlates (TM) and MT2 MicroPlates (TM) Caused by Calcium" (2014). OEAS Faculty Publications. 10.