SUMMARY: The method of application of negative staining with potassium phosphotungstate for the electron microscopy of bacterial surface structure is described. The method has been used to study the fimbriae of Klebsiella strains, and has confirmed, qualitatively, the results of other workers who used the shadow-casting technique. The diameters of the two types of fimbriae associated with the MS and MR adhesins were found to be 65-70 Å and about 48 Å, respectively. These figures are about 30 % less than earlier estimates. The resistance of both types of fimbriae to prolonged autolysis was shown. Other applications of the negative staining method include the study of bacterial flagellation, and of the structure of cells disintegrated by autolysis or other methods.


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