Scanning Microscopy


Scanning electron microscopy was used to compare the morphology, integrity and distribution of bacterial cells in a test plaque grown on the surface of enamel with that of the cell sediment plaque routinely used in a short-term intraoral caries model. Cultures of S. mutans IB-1600 or S. sobrinus 6715-13 were grown in complex media supplemented with either 2.0% sucrose (glucan plaque) or 0.2 % glucose (non-glucan plaque). Cell sediment (CS) plaque was prepared by centrifuging the cultures after incubation, recovering the cell sediment, and spreading it on Metricel membrane filter paper. Surface grown (SG) plaque was prepared by suspending saliva-coated bovine enamel in the culture inedium, incubating, and recovering the enamel assembly with bacterial accumulations. Cell morphology and integrity, as well as the appearance of glucan-like material produced by the cells, was similar in both CS and SG test plaques. The cell distribution however, varied in the SG plaque from extremes of all cells to all glucan, whereas the cell sediment plaque was more uniform in cell distribution. A highly standardized test plaque minimizes variability in the intraoral caries model. These findings support the contention that the bacterial cells in a cell sediment plaque are similar in morphology, integrity and glucan production to surface grown plaque, and have the added advantage of uniform distribution, which makes the cell sediment plaque more appropriate for intraoral caries model studies.

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