Quantify total biomass and assess the entire microbial population
Phospholipid fatty acids (PLFA) are a main component of the membrane (essentially the skin) of all microbes. PLFA analysis provides direct information on the entire microbial community in three key areas:
In addition, PLFA analysis can be coupled to an innovative technique called Stable Isotope Probing (SIP) to show incorporation of a 13C labeled compound into microbial biomass thus conclusively demonstrating that biodegradation is occurring. For more information on SIP, please see SIP.