SUMMARY: The viabilities of planktonic bacteria from nine freshwaters and one raw sewage were compared. Viabilities estimated from microcolony formation in slide culture (18·4-48·7%) were higher than a conventional plate count method (1·8--14·9%). Microcolony viability was estimated in four ways; the one recommended was the ratio of the microcolony count and total count of microcolonies and single cells after 24 or 72 h incubation. Bacterial viability strongly correlated with the percentage of bacteria <0·2μm in size and the concentration of soluble carbohydrate in the water.


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