Bacteria were analyzed in a dual-beam flow cytometer after double staining with the fluorescent dyes chromomycin A3 and Hoechst 33258, which bind preferentially to DNA that is rich in guanine-cytosine and adenine-thymine, respectively. The measurements were indicative of the cellular DNA content and base composition, cell concentration, and proliferative state of the population. The ratio of the chromomycin A3 signal to the Hoechst 33258 signal increased with the guanine-cytosine content of the cellular DNA for the six cultured species measured, following expectation. Bacteria in urine from patients with urinary tract infections were characterized without interference from host cell DNA, debris, or other particulates.

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