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Open AccessOpinion

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
Microorganisms 2014, 2(1), 1-10;
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)
PDF [1242 KB, uploaded 24 December 2013]


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. View Full-Text
Keywords: bacteriophage; contrast; electron microscopy; positive staining; quality control bacteriophage; contrast; electron microscopy; positive staining; quality control

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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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