Microbial Community Analysis with EcoPlates

Microbial communities provide useful information about environmental change. Microorganisms are present in virtually all environments and are typically the first organisms to react to chemical and physical changes in the environment. Changes in microbial communities are often a precursor to changes in the health and viability of the environment as a whole.

Created in accord with recommendations of microbial ecologists specifically for community analysis and microbial ecological studies. Biolog EcoPlates have been found to provide a sensitive and reliable index of environmental change.

  • Measure the metabolism of 31 carbon sources per assay
  • Each assay panel tests in triplicate
  • Simple colorimetric readout
  • Readable with any microplate reader

This approach, called community-level physiological profiling, has been demonstrated to be effective at distinguished spatial and temporal changes in microbial communities. In applied ecological research, the MicroPlates are used as both an assay of the stability of a normal population and to detect and assess changes following the onset of an environmental variable.

Researchers have used EcoPlates for years in numerous applications including:

Analyzing population
changes in soil

Water and wastewater testing

Activated sludge, compost,
and industrial waste testing

Bioremediation and
effects of toxic chemicals

The utility of the information has been documented in over 500 publications using Biolog technology to analyze microbial communities. Visit our bibliography.

Have a look

If you are interested in using EcoPlates for teaching purposes, please visit our Microbiology Educational Portal


  • I’ve used the EcoPlates™ before and they worked well again. This time we used them on communities from stream water and sediments and some isolated bacteria from the same samples. The GEN III MicroPlates™ were used to test some interesting bacteria that may be novel species and they worked out great, especially for the Gram negative species.

    Sean O’Connell, Ph.D. (he/him/his)
    Associate Professor of Microbial Ecology, Western Carolina University
  • EcoPlates™ are used primarily in one fourth-year undergraduate course entitled, “Microbes in our Environment”. Students are given a choice of different soil type samples to run a battery of tests against, among which the EcoPlates are used. Later in the term, they are used again when students are given project work. Prior to the start of their project they are called to provide their own soil sample from wherever they choose to find them. They then study the effects of several pretreatments to their soil samples on the microbial community within the soil.

    Jacylyn Villanueva
    Technician, University of Manitoba

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