colony count, microbialmedical dictionary

Enumeration by direct count of viable, isolated bacterial or fungal cells or spores capable of growth on solid culture media. Each colony (i.e., microbial colony-forming unit) represents the progeny of a single cell in the original inoculum. The method is used routinely by environmental microbiologists for quantifying organisms in air, food, and water; by clinicians for measuring patients' microbial load; and in antimicrobial drug testing.

(12 Dec 1998)