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Microorganisms 2014, 2(1), 1-10; doi:10.3390/microorganisms2010001

Sad State of Phage Electron Microscopy. Please Shoot the Messenger

Department of Microbiology-Immunology and Infectiology, Medical School, Laval University, Quebec, QC G1K 7P4, Canada
Received: 23 October 2013 / Revised: 29 November 2013 / Accepted: 9 December 2013 / Published: 24 December 2013
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances and New Perspectives in Microbial Research)
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Two hundred and sixty publications from 2007 to 2012 were classified according to the quality of electron micrographs; namely as good (71); mediocre (21); or poor (168). Publications were from 37 countries; appeared in 77 journals; and included micrographs produced with about 60 models of electron microscopes. The quality of the micrographs was not linked to any country; journal; or electron microscope. Main problems were poor contrast; positive staining; low magnification; and small image size. Unsharp images were frequent. Many phage descriptions were silent on virus purification; magnification control; even the type of electron microscope and stain used. The deterioration in phage electron microscopy can be attributed to the absence of working instructions and electron microscopy courses; incompetent authors and reviewers; and lenient journals. All these factors are able to cause a gradual lowering of standards.
Keywords: bacteriophage; contrast; electron microscopy; positive staining; quality control bacteriophage; contrast; electron microscopy; positive staining; quality control
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY) which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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Ackermann, H.-W. Sad State of Phage Electron Microscopy. Please Shoot the Messenger. Microorganisms 2014, 2, 1-10.

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