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Open Access Highly Accessed Review

Applications of cell sorting in biotechnology

Diethard Mattanovich12* and Nicole Borth1

Author Affiliations

1 University of Natural Resources and Applied Life Sciences Vienna, Department of Biotechnology, Institute of Applied Microbiology, Muthgasse 18, A-1190 Vienna, Austria

2 School of Bioengineering, University of Applied Sciences FH-Campus Vienna, Muthgasse 18, A-1190 Vienna, Austria

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Microbial Cell Factories 2006, 5:12  doi:10.1186/1475-2859-5-12

Published: 21 March 2006

Abstract

Due to its unique capability to analyze a large number of single cells for several parameters simultaneously, flow cytometry has changed our understanding of the behavior of cells in culture and of the population dynamics even of clonal populations. The potential of this method for biotechnological research, which is based on populations of living cells, was soon appreciated. Sorting applications, however, are still less frequent than one would expect with regard to their potential. This review highlights important contributions where flow cytometric cell sorting was used for physiological research, protein engineering, cell engineering, specifically emphasizing selection of overproducing cell lines. Finally conclusions are drawn concerning the impact of cell sorting on inverse metabolic engineering and systems biology.